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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

S is for Stocking

Thursday, December 7, 2023

One of the reasons Christmas is a wonderful time of the year is the scope and depth of Christmas traditions. Many traditions touch our inner souls while other traditions speak to the child in us. The list of traditions from A to Z includes the full range of traditions. S is for Stocking is one of the our treasured traditions that reminds us of childhood, of the wonder of Christmas, and of the mirth of the season. 

is for Stocking.

Leaving gifts in Christmas stockings reportedly began with Saint Nicholas. According to legend, three poor girls left their washed stockings on the fireplace mantel to dry overnight. Saint Nicholas knew the girls were poor and threw three bags of gold coins down their chimney. The coins landed in the girls' stockings.  

"A Visit from St. Nicholas," also known as "The Night Before Christmas,"  includes the lines the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes St. Nicholas would soon be there. In the years following the poem's publication in 1823, hanging stockings on Christmas Eve became a tradition in America.  

Stockings are no longer just for children. Many families have stockings for other family members as well as the children. Stockings for Mother, Father, and other family members living or visiting in the same house on Christmas Eve often have a personalized stocking. 

And, sometimes stockings are sent to family members who do not live in the same house or are visiting on Christmas Eve. A Christmas tradition in our family is for my adult sister and me to gift stockings filled with presents to each other. 

A peach colored stocking with pom-poms was the perfect stocking for my sister a few years ago. Peach is her favorite color. The store where I bought the stocking had several items in the same color range with which to fill the stocking. 

Now, for children, color coordinating a stocking with its contents is not necessary or probably not even noticed should that happen. 

For an adult sister, color coordinating the stocking and its contents was a delight, enjoyed by my sister with each item in the stocking. Oohs and aahs for every small gift in the stocking.  

A rosy shimmering fabric deer with glittered rosy antlers did not fit inside the stocking, but was beautiful hanging on the outside. 

A darker rosy glittered bottle brush tree peeked out the top of the stocking. 

Socks may not be appreciated by children or some adults, but when the socks are a soft fuzzy pink with a white bordered cuff they were appreciated by my sister who loves wearing socks. 

A delicious chocolate bar wrapped in Christmas paper with a color-coordinated angel sticker elevated the candy to more than just a chocolate bar! 


Stockings are often the first presents opened on Christmas morning. Children take their stockings into their parents' bedroom, all pile up together on the bed, and with joy open their treasures left by Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. 

Stockings are Christmas traditions associated with joyful childhood Christmases and remembered by children and their parents into adulthood. Some families continue the tradition of Christmas stockings for all their children and their spouses all their lives. Each new addition to the family means another stocking hung on the fireplace. 

Another stocking tradition is to hang a stocking filled with treats and toys for each pet in the family. 

Stockings are one of those traditions that add laughter, joy, and treasured memories to our Christmas celebrations.