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The Fabric Maverick tells the truth about Christmas Stockings!

November 18, 2010

"All the stockings were hung with great care..." or so the story goes. The real truth about Christmas stockings is that they were never supposed to be hung on a fireplace!  Wise parents really created Christmas stockings to be hung at the foot of the bed in the children's bedroom. The idea was that if a child woke up early on Christmas morning, the stocking would keep the child busy so that the parents would get a few hours of extra sleep before being dragged from bed by excited children. Somehow this has been changed to hanging from the fireplace mantel. I suspect that a decorator was involved. Think about it! All the beautiful pictures in the magazines show a picture perfect room with a fireplace decorated to the hilt with matching stockings. In my world, most of my stockings do not match. Not even the ones I wear.


I decided to do some investigating to find out if I am the only unusual person. Looking back over years of Christmas stockings, I have found that I tend to be a traditionalist using the classic Christmas stocking as my base. My first stocking was one I made for my baby girl. I cross-stitched the top with her name and Raggedy Ann with a series of toys. It took months to create the top and an hour to complete the stocking. It was a work of art which I have treasured through the years. My next set of stockings I purchased a kit from Moda. It included wonderful precut pieces of wool felt with loads of trims to add to the stocking. I gathered my grandchildren around me so they could make their own stockings with my help.  These were very pretty when finished, but not exactly works of art. Those sequins were a real pain to glue on. Surprisingly enough these are still their favorite stockings when they come to my house. One year, Southern Living had a Christmas layout using plain old burlap made into Christmas stockings accented with jumbo red rick rack.  I happened to have a surprise Christmas guest coming so I rushed to create this burlap stocking. I was surprised to see how elegant it looked amidst my other Christmas decorations. Even the humblest materials can look great!


Now Holly, our resident elf, has a less traditional look to her stockings. She runs the gamut from stockings with curled toes to bloomer stockings that bear no resemblance to the traditional look. I was fascinated with these. They look so girly.


Let your imagination go wild! Stockings do not have to be in traditional colors of red and green. They do not need to be in the regular Christmas stocking shape. You can have curly toes, high heels, look like cowboy boots and more! I have found some fun stockings that look like mittens. Stockings came be made from home decorating fabrics, burlap, organza, tulle. They can be knitted or crocheted. Look at your stash and I bet you have all the materials you need at your fingertips. Here is our stockings: Stocking1.jpg   stocking2.jpgPost your Christmas creations on our facebook page. We look forward to seeing them!

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Okay, so this is supposed to be funny, but listen, we take our Christmas traditions seriously. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...because they only had one pair of darned (repaired)stockings that needed to be washed out each night and were hung by the fire to dry before morning. When the poor women got up to get dressed, imagine their surprize when they found gifts of money in the stockings! It was to serve a real purpose, not an invented one of "Hey, where is my not needed, over-indulged surprize." But, then, you are writing this blog, so you can have it your way.

Meanwhile, I will join you in the creativity of the season!

Merry Christmas
(Happy Chanukkah, winter solstice, etc)

Actually, you're both right. The original idea of gifts in the stockings was NOT stockings, but shoes left outside of Dutch homes and a kindly man (St. Nikolaus supposedly) leaving coins for the poor children. Then it morphed into leaving gifts in the "drying" stockings hung by the fireplace to dry. In the UK, once Christmas took hold (not until a German alliance, which brought Christmas into the fore), the stockings were hung on the ends of the children's beds. This was partly because the Christmas tree (also brought over by the Germans) was not put up until Christmas Eve and the children did not see it until the morning. I suppose it was a way to keep them occupied until the family gathered to reveal the tree.
My wonderful husband made special hooks that hung off my two boys' bunk beds. Since we never had a fireplace, the boys' stockings were hung at the end of their beds and were magically filled in the morning. I can tell you, my two sons tried to catch him filling up the stockings all of their youth and never did figure out how he mysteriously entered their room and filled their stockings -- which, by the way, were knit by my mother when they were born.
Have a peaceful and fun holiday season!

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This page contains a single entry by published on November 18, 2010 11:09 AM.

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