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We all know the most classic scene of the holiday season, where family members gather around the Christmas tree near the fireplace and share a lovely evening. You see this scene in every movie and holiday season, and you recognize the needlepoint Christmas stockings with the vibrant red and green colors hanging by the mantle in the background.
In general, Christmas stockings are a huge part of today’s Christmas culture. However, what made people decide to hang a stocking by the fireplace and fill it with gifts?
In this article, we’ll answer this question and tell you all about needlepoint Christmas stockings, from how they came to be to why you should purchase needlepoint Christmas stocking kits and make the perfect stockings for your family and loved ones this holiday season.
The Origin of Needlepoint Christmas Stockings
There are two possible stories known to be the origin of Christmas stockings: the Saint Nicholas story and the Odin story.
The Saint Nicholas Version
This version is most believed to be the origin of Christmas stockings, though there aren’t any written records or other evidence to support its validity. The story goes as follows.
During the days of Saint Nicholas, who was known for his incredible generosity, there lived a widowed shopkeeper. He had three daughters who possessed great beauty. However, this man was extremely worried about his daughters’ ability to get married as he couldn’t afford their dowry due to his financial situation.
One day Saint Nicholas was going around town. He heard the villagers talking about the girls’ predicament. He then decided to help this family, but he knew the father wouldn’t accept his help as he would see it as charity. Therefore, Saint Nicolas decided to help them out in secret without revealing his identity.
So, at night, he threw three bags filled with gold through the family’s house window, and one of the bags accidentally landed in a stocking that was left to hang by the fireplace. Some stories say he threw all three bags directly into the stockings through the house’s window, while others say he sneaked into the house and deliberately placed them in the stockings.
Anyways, when morning came, the family incredulously woke up to the bags of gold, and they couldn’t contain their joy. The father was then able to afford his daughters’ dowries, and they all got married and lived happily ever after.
From then on, Saint Nicholas became known as the patron saint of children and later became known as Santa, Father Christmas, or Papa Noel. So, children began placing their socks on Saint Nicholas Day, or Christmas Eve, after a certain point in time, all in the hopes of receiving little gifts and trinkets.
Christmas stockings then came about and were much preferred as they were bigger than socks and could, accordingly, hold a much bigger gift. From then on, hanging quilted, knitted, or intricate needlepoint Christmas stockings became part of Christmas tradition, and this custom is still being carried out every year by families worldwide.
The Odin Version
The story of Odin and his flying horse can be considered another source of how Christmas stockings came about, though this version is much less known and believed than the Saint Nicholas story.
Essentially, it is said that the idea of Christmas stockings came from the myth of Odin, a god from Norse mythology. Supposedly, little children would lay out their boots by the chimney and fill them with things like straw, carrots, and sugar. This is so that Sleipnir, Odin’s flying horse, could eat his fill when flying close by.
As a reward for the kid’s hospitality and kindness, Odin would give the children candy and presents, and he’d put the gifts in their boots in place of the horse food.
This tradition continued, and once Christianity reached the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium, the practice became associated with the legend of Saint Nicholas, the boots changed to stockings, and the rest was history.
Still, since stockings were never really associated with the legend of Odin up until his story merged with Saint Nicholas’s, this story isn’t very credible as the beginning of Christmas stockings.
What’s the Deal With the Oranges?
Fruits, especially oranges, are traditional stocking fillers, but have you ever wondered why oranges exactly?
Well, remember the bags of gold from the Saint Nicholas story? As previously mentioned, some renderings of the story say that Saint Nicholas filled the bags with gold coins. However, others say that Saint Nicholas didn’t put coins but actual gold balls into the stockings. As such, three gold balls became one of the symbols of Saint Nicholas.
However, since people couldn’t put golden balls in their stockings, they turned to oranges since they resemble the balls in shape and color. Accordingly, they could continue to follow the tale of Saint Nicholas as closely as possible and keep the tradition alive.
However, another explanation of the oranges exists. It’s said that, in the past, finding fresh and juicy fruits was difficult, and thus, they were treasured. So, receiving any fruit, especially a sweet-smelling orange, was a treat in and of itself.
Consequently, people continued to gift oranges and other fruits till they became a popular thing to find in any needlepoint Christmas stocking.
What About the Lump of Coal?
All people are familiar with Santa leaving a lump of coal in the naughty children’s needlepoint stockings who didn’t behave throughout the year. So, why did coal end up as a stocking stuffer for bad children?
Well, this is explained in the continuation of the Saint Nicholas story. After the villagers heard about the family’s luck, they also started hanging their stockings in the house in the hopes of getting a fortune of their own.
Since Saint Nicholas was incredibly charitable and wanted to help the villagers in whatever way he could, he decided to visit their homes and leave bags of gold too.
However, he knew that some of the villagers were terrible people and didn’t deserve his help. So, he left them a lump of coal instead of gold balls. And so, parents nowadays tell their kids that Santa will fill their stockings with coal unless they are good children who don’t do any evil deeds.
The Evolution of Christmas Stockings Throughout the History
So, what happened from the days of Saint Nicholas till now? When exactly did needlepoint stockings come about? How did the tradition change from socks to stockings over the years? Let’s take a look.
The sock-hanging traditions started in Europe, where kids would hang their socks by the fireplace to get presents on Saint Nicholas Day. Later on, they started hanging their dad’s socks as those socks were bigger and could, therefore, be filled with more trinkets and gifts.
In the 1800s, in the United States, stockings finally took the socks’ place and were hung on Christmas Eve. This most probably happened due to the well-known poem of Clement Clarke Moore called “A Visit from Santa Claus”, wherein the stockings hung by the chimney were mentioned more than once.
From then, the custom spread all over the country and began appearing in the works of other artists and authors like Thomas Nast and George Webster, till it became ingrained in the American Christmas culture.
However, somewhere near the conclusion of the 1800s, the stocking tradition nearly came to an end. This coincided with the introduction of the Christmas tree, which almost completely replaced Christmas stockings.
At that time, people were having a hard time settling on the right size of stockings as some were too small, and some took a lot of money and gifts to fill properly. As such, people were losing interest in Christmas stockings and were all about the Christmas trees.
Thankfully, the stockings were able to make a comeback once a standard size was settled upon with the invention of elastic stockings. Then, the stockings became an essential part of Christmas decorations once the use of beautifully adorned and decorated stockings became widespread. This is how the great, elaborate needlepoint Christmas stockings of today came to be.
Now, any Christmas stocking can be handmade from scratch, bought readily from stores, or made from needlepoint Christmas stocking kits. They can also have different colors and dimensions and be monogrammed or personalized in other ways for a particular person.
Even the stocking fillers have changed over the years, from the traditional fruits, candy, nuts, toys, and coins to the creative and expensive gifts, like perfumes, jewelry, electronic devices, etc.
Why Needlepoint Christmas Stockings Make for Great Gifts?
Needlepoint Christmas stockings honestly make for excellent gifts you can give to your loved ones during the holiday seasons. In addition, any good-quality needlepoint Christmas stocking will last for a long time and can even become an heirloom if adequately taken care of.
Gone are the days when stockings were a simple affair. Nowadays, you can get luxurious, high-end needlepoint stockings made with the finest materials, from wool and velvet to silk and satin. You can even have someone’s monogram printed or stitched on the stocking and make it a highly personal gift.
Moreover, you can choose designs that suit or represent the person you’re giving it to for an even more personal touch. Just one look at the needlepoint Christmas stocking, and the receiver will be able to know how much you genuinely care about them.
And let’s be honest; most children would love to have a needlepoint stocking that has their name or favorite character on it. Still, it’s not just children that will be happy to receive a personalized needlepoint stocking.
Any couple who have recently moved in or gotten married to start their own family would love a pair of their own. Moreover, if a new in-law has recently joined your family, a needlepoint stocking with personal details will make them feel welcome and part of the family.
Additionally, if you decide to host Christmas Eve, you can delight your guests with their festive stockings. Not only will they appreciate the detail and be touched that you put in the effort, but they’ll also feel more welcome and comfortable in your home.
If you want to take it a step further, you can make your Christmas stockings yourself. You can knit them from scratch or get a little help by buying one or two needlepoint Christmas stocking kits. That way, your loved ones will feel your sincerity and know how much you love them.
So, all around, gifting needlepoint Christmas stockings for any person you love having in your life is a brilliant idea. They’ll love it when they initially receive it and will continue to think of you every Christmas when they come to unpack and hang them on the mantle.
How to Choose From the Different Christmas Stockings Designs?
To put it in simple words, the design you choose will depend on the person you’re giving the stocking. For instance, if you’re getting it for a child, go with the classics: Santa, elves, angels, polar bears, snowflakes, reindeer, etc. You can even choose the child’s favorite animal, Disney princess, or cartoon character if you know it.
Contrarily, if you’re buying the stocking for an adult, try to go for a more sophisticated look. For example, you can choose argyle or geometric patterns in classic green and red colors. You can also purchase something plain but with beautiful gold trills and beading.
However, if you know the person’s zodiac sign, beloved sports team, video game, movie, or band, getting a needlepoint Christmas stocking with a picture representing that thing will be quite a nice touch. Nevertheless, if you don’t want the traditional needlepoint stocking, you still have the option of knitted or quilted stockings.
Whatever you decide to go with, think of the person you’re getting the stocking for, and you’ll know which design you should choose. The thoughtfully chosen Christmas stocking will allow the receiver to have the best experience of the holiday season.
Needlepoint Christmas Stocking Kits
If you don’t want a ready-made stocking because you want to add your personal touch, but you can’t be bothered or don’t have it in you to make up a design, needlepoint Christmas stocking kits are the answer to your dilemma.
Most needlepoint kits come with a computer-generated pattern that’s stamped or printed onto a canvas as well as the thread you’ll be using, be it yarn, floss, wool, or cotton thread.
You then follow the pattern of the needlepoint kits to make the stockings, and you can switch up the colors and fabrics for the sake of personalization. Consequently, the resultant needlepoint stockings will be truly special and one of a kind.
Generally, needlepoint Christmas stocking kits come in various canvas designs and dimensions. However, the sizes usually available begin from 16 inches to 22 inches, though smaller and larger canvas sizes are available.
Of course, needlepoint kits will be fun for both the maker and the person who receives the final product and allow both to have a jolly holiday season.
Where Can I Hang My Needlepoint Stockings If I Don’t Have a Fireplace?
Truthfully, with the way the population has increased, living spaces have drastically decreased from large properties to small apartment complexes. As such, it’s not an easy feat for every household to have a fireplace or a mantle in the current times.
But fear not. Not having a fireplace doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Christmas stockings in this holiday season. There are plenty of other spaces where you can hang your stockings, including bookshelves, bed posts, and dressers. In addition, you can use curtain rods or hang a piece of twine on the wall or in front of a mirror.
Any place that’s visible and accessible will work as long as you get some stocking holders or strong double-sided adhesive tape. So, don’t worry too much about this point and make sure you have fun with your family.
How to Make Your Own Christmas Stocking Without Sewing or Embroidery?
While the idea of making your own Christmas stocking is very titillating, it’s not that easy to knit or quilt a stocking. Even if you plan on using needlepoint Christmas stocking kits, you need to know a bit about embroidery and sewing for the needlepoint stockings to take shape, and not a lot of people nowadays know much about this area.
So how can you make a stocking without knowing how to sew? Well, you can get a piece of felt or some other fabric you have lying around and trace the outline of a stocking on it with the dimension you want.
Then, cut along the outline two identical pieces of fabric. Make sure that the pieces are placed inside out, and glue the edges together using a glue gun or fabric glue. Remember to leave the top part open so that you can slide the gifts into the stocking.
Next, once the glue has dried, turn the stocking inside out and get to decorating. You can write your name or initials, then add a picture, tassels, ribbons, flowers, rhinestones, or whatever else you fancy by gluing it to the stocking’s outside. And there you have it, your own personalized no-sew DIY Christmas stocking to get you in the spirit of this year’s holiday season.
How to Store and Take Care of Needlepoint Christmas Stockings?
Thankfully, it’s not too hard to maintain and preserve the condition of a stocking. All you need is to wrap it in some paper and lay it down flat in a box. This will prevent any unpleasant wrinkles as well as preserve your stocking’s shape and form.
Moreover, take care to store it by itself. You don’t want any of the other ornaments snagging the fabric or loosening the stitches and ruining the look of the intricate images on your precious needlepoint Christmas stocking.
What Should You Place as Stocking Fillers?
Honestly, anything that fits inside the Christmas stocking can be a stocking filler. Other than the traditional fruits and nuts, you can put toys, books, socks, scarves, concert tickets, gift cards, and the famous red-and-white candy cane, as well as other candy varieties.
You can also get accessories such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and watches. If you want to put a smile on the stocking owner’s face, then a big wad of cash will do the trick.
If you’re totally lost about what to get and would like some tips, you can follow the five gift rule, which states that you should get something they want, something they need, something to read, something to wear, and something to do. With this rule, you’ll generally be safe, and the people you love are bound to find something that they like.
What’s the Largest Stocking Ever Made?
The first largest Christmas stocking in the world was made in 2011 by an Italian volunteer organization called Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni. This group made a Christmas stocking that was more than 51 meters long and about 21 meters in width when measured from toe to heel.
To enter the Guinness World Records, they had to stuff the stocking. Consequently, they purchased balloons, filled them with candy, and used them as stocking stuffers. As such, they were able to accomplish the mission and set the world record for the world’s most giant Christmas stocking.
This record was later beaten by the Sedalia community in Missouri, USA, in 2017, by making a Christmas stocking that was about 54 meters in length and 22 in width. However, this stocking hasn’t been recorded in Guinness World Records.
Needlepoint Christmas stockings are a must-have during the holiday season. Not only does a needlepoint stocking complete the ambiance, but it also makes for a splendid gift that shows how much you care about that person.
While people had to make stockings from scratch in the past, several various companies make needlepoint stockings for a reasonable price in the present time. Furthermore, almost every business has many personalization options, such as adding monograms and choosing fonts, colors, images, size, patterns, etc.
You choose a design from the catalog, make sure it’s in stock, add a discount code if possible, checkout, and the shop will ship the stocking to your door right before Santa comes.
Additionally, these businesses also wanted to empower and see each customer creating their needlepoint stocking. That’s why they developed and began to sell needlepoint Christmas stocking kits. These needlepoint kits allow each person to become a designer that has total control over the stocking’s personalization and details.
You’ll find a variety of canvas images and patterns, where each canvas is thought up by a brilliant designer. So, once you purchase needlepoint Christmas stocking kits and finish working on them with your wool or cotton thread, you’ll find yourself with an heirloom-quality needlepoint stocking that’ll make anyone eagerly await a visit from Santa.