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When I was a kid, the Christmas stocking was a feature of our family holiday celebration. My mom, an incredibly creative woman, lovingly made our stockings, decorating each differently. We all knew the stocking itself was a manifestation of her love for us. Besides that, though, we never had a lot of money, and the nuts, fruit and candy in the stockings were a relatively large part of our presents. Last but not least, we were allowed to open our stockings immediately, not waiting for the rest of the package opening ritual!

My son was born in October, 23 years ago. After his birth it was important to me that he have a stocking, too. I didn't have a sewing machine, nor the creative skills of my mom, so I bought one for him, which he still uses. I chose a plaid stocking, with plaid representative of his Scottish heritage. On his first Christmas, Santa brought him one present, a small stuffed Curious George doll that fit just right into the top of that stocking. I'll never forget the look of wonder on my son's face when he locked eyes with the little monkey.

Last Christmas he got engaged to his high school sweetheart. Just Monday he asked me if I would make a stocking for her. Her parents live a few blocks from us, and she has a stocking there, so I hadn't planned to. But she is part of our family now, too, so I did anyway. Below the fold I'll show you my process.

I started by visiting the local fabric store on Tuesday to see if there were pre-quilted fabrics I might use. Late in the season, all choices were gone.

Instead I decided to quilt my own. I had a couple of Christmas fabrics in my stash and chose one with leaping reindeers. I like it to represent her because she grew up as a dancer, and I see the deer dancing across the fabric. I also found fabric for the back (the inside of the stocking), and set to work. I loaded the backing fabric on my quilting frame and cut a piece of the top fabric large enough to make front and back of the stocking. Thursday night I quilted the fabric.

Next I used his stocking to make a pattern, adding about a half inch all the way around to make a seam allowance.

I drew around the pattern with chalk, reversing the pattern for the back of the stocking. I cut on the chalk line to make the front and back of the stocking. With right sides of the fabric together, I sewed around, leaving the top open. It looks like this when turned right side out.

The cuff came next. I don't have any white eyelet, which was used on his so sweetly. I decided to use a contrasting piece of Christmas fabric. Ultimately I might update his with a cuff like this. Once the cuff was constructed with a thin layer of batting inside, I attached it to the top.

Last step is to wait for Santa to fill it with goodies.

Do you have memories to share of Christmas stockings? Did you get special trinkets or gifts, fruits, crossword puzzle books? What do you like to fill stockings with now? Who do they go to in your family -- just the little children?

Originally posted to Melanie in IA on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:30 AM PST.

Also republished by DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Wishing you Peace, Prosperity, Health, and Happiness in the New Year!

    by Melanie in IA on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:30:02 AM PST

  •  On a low note, keeping current (3+ / 0-)

    My husband's mother made stockings for me and our four children - husband already had his from childhood.  All but two got damaged in our attic, so I removed all the decorations from the ruined four and put them all on the remaining two stockings.  When our older son and daughter were married, I used paper mailing labels which I wrote the newcomer's names on, and then straight pinned them to the existing two stockings.  Many years later, and two divorces later, unpinned the exe's, replace with new mailing labels for newest additions to the family.  We keep current that way...

    Stockings weren't part of my family's traditions, so I could never figure out what to put in our childrens' stockings.

    •  That's a good way to keep things current! (4+ / 0-)

      My mom ended up making a lot of stockings, 6 for us kids, 4 more for spouses, 8 for her grandkids, and 2 more for herself and my stepdad. I guess that adds up to 20! They matched in that they were all made of heavy red felt, and decorated with white ball fringe on the top edge. But each had a different seasonal motif, also in felt. There was a snowman, a Christmas tree, a bell, a ball ornament, Santa...  I wish I could remember them all.

      After she and my stepdad had both died and we cleaned out there house, we kids decided to throw away the stockings, as they were permeated with cigarette smoke. It was one of the more emotional moments for us as we had to decide what to do with things.

      Wishing you Peace, Prosperity, Health, and Happiness in the New Year!

      by Melanie in IA on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:53:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Da Boys' stockings (4+ / 0-)

    were knit by the Mister's Great Aunt June -- all the kids in his family have stockings knit by Great Aunt June.

    They're huge, and stretchy, decorated with glued on felt -- one with a reindeer and one with a Santa.

    Elder Son's is somewhat worse for wear, because when he was very little, he insisted on carrying it around with him for a couple of weeks.  The sequins that make up one of Santa's eyes are loose and droop; the stocking is very grubby.  But that,  I think, is part of its charm.

    A little tender courage at that rare right instant, and things might well have turned out differently -- Ken Kesey

    by Frankenoid on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 05:53:45 AM PST

  •  Kids parents and pets (3+ / 0-)

    all had stockings at our house.  The Nissa (kind of like Norwegian Leprechauns) always reformed their milk-stealing, mischief-making ways one night a year, to fill our stockings with small, generally practical gifts like new socks and toothbrushes, fruit, nuts and candy.  One year our rat terrier, Tippy, got a can of vienna sausages.  I have never been able to bring myself to eat one when they appear at a holiday buffet, and always flash back to his doggy joy.

    I still hang stockings for my dogs -- although they get more dog-specific, and presumably healthier treats, with the exception of the occasional Spritz cookie.

    •  We get toothbrushes in ours, too, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thinking Fella, Polly Syllabic

      presumably to make up for the candy. Funny about the little sausages -- I think that would put me off them, too!

      Besides the toothbrushes, we usually see candy of various sorts, sugarless gum, nuts (often pistachios.) Son always gets a Hot Wheels car, every single year. He has a pretty big collection of them now, from Christmas and otherwise.

      Wishing you Peace, Prosperity, Health, and Happiness in the New Year!

      by Melanie in IA on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 06:30:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I made a HUGE stocking from a pre-printed (3+ / 0-)

    Christmas stocking pattern.  The fabric featured Thomzs the Train in a picture that is aboub 2 feet long.  I lined it with a cute kids flannel with football players on it, then tied it with red yarn bows at strategic points.  There was a reason to go LARGE that year.  My son's family was coming home from Qater. Son #1 had asked I purchase my grandson a skateboard since they hadn't found one in the commmissary.  Parents were certain my Grandson, Zach, still believed in Santa, so they wanted this gift to appear in the Christmas Stocking on Chrstmas Morning. Grand daughter had similar large stocking holding a razor skooter, but she was old enough, yet gracous enough to play along with little brother's imagination.  Her stocking was made of a Christmas checked fabric finished with buttons at tacking points.    

    We had the family tradition of Santa Gifts being limited to what was in the stockings back to time we visited grandparents at long distances, so we didn't have to carry every Christmas Gift with us.  

  •  As a kid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Melanie in IA, Polly Syllabic

    we had small, not-handmade stockings. Usually they were filled with fruit & candy. When I got married, the wife was big into the whole stocking thing--but her family had always filled them with gag gifts like little books about farts or stuff you'd get from a gumball machine or little green Army men(odd for a 38 y/o to get 3 Army guys!)...

    Nice diary, Melanie. Thanks for a trip through The Wayback Machine!

    "The better I know people, the more I like my dog."

    by Thinking Fella on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 07:34:44 AM PST

  •  My Mom made us kids felt stockings in the 1950's (0+ / 0-)

    with glitter writing and stars, in a "craft-y home-maker" kind of style. She always did a lot of handwork, embroidery, crochet, sewing clothes, eventually quilting. Also woodwork! We came across the stocking remains when we were sorting out her place. Hadn't seen them in YEARS. As "archive-sib" I MAY have hauled them off, for later documentation; if so they're packed deep, 8-) I actually recognized them, barely, while the two youngers didn't seem to, really.

    We (my husband and I) are working on genealogy; I've been thinking lately of making an illustrated appendix with photos of "this came from X (and Q currently has it as of [date]), that came from Y's kitchen" kind of ID's of things that I consider "family heirlooms". As well as collecting as many family photos as possible, of course.

    We currently (my family of 3) have  commercial sox, and filling them can cost as much as the rest of the gifts together, esp. when you end up putting small stuff in! Chocolate, lots; a magazine, a paperback, "stuff to keep the kids occupied while parents are making breakfast, because presents are NOT opened until AFTER breakfast!" -- his family's tradition for managing Christmas morning with 4 kids in a 6-yr range! I don't remember that much about what my family did particularly; maybe my younger sibs will remember...

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 02:56:32 PM PST

    •  Thanks so much for the comment! (0+ / 0-)

      When my son asked me to make the stocking for his fiancee, I said I would, but I hadn't thought at all about what to put in it, other than the candy, nuts, tiny oranges the rest of us would get. But I already had purchased a couple of kitchen tools for him (as you say, it isn't necessarily cheap to fill them!) and put them in hers, instead. That, the little pocket packets of tissues, and all the other normal stuff... Made fun stockings for them both.

      Next year I don't know how it will all go. We'll have his Air Force commissioning ceremony, his masters degree graduation, hopefully lots of family in... I think the stockings may fall to the bottom of the list of things to worry about. We'll see!

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