“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there” Clement C. Moore
Christmas stockings may hang from your mantle, along your stair rail or even under you windows… but where did this tradition of gift-filled stockings originate?
Tradition tells a story, originating in the early 19th century, of a kind nobleman whose wife had passed away after a long illness. The nobleman and his three daughters were heartbroken. After a series of misfortunes, the nobleman and his three daughters moved into a peasant’s cottage where his daughters did all of the cooking, cleaning and sewing.
As his daughters grew older, the once nobleman became even more depressed as he could not provide a proper dowry for their impending marriages.
One night the daughters washed their stockings and hung them by the fire to dry. Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the gentleman’s house. He saw that the family had gone to bed and noticed the daughter’s stockings. Saint Nicholas then took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them one by one down the chimney and they landed in the stockings.
The next morning when the daughters woke up, they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to provide his daughters with proper weddings and they lived happily ever after.
Your family tradition may be to hand a stocking for each child or family member… and even the family pet!
Making your own stockings is a great way to spend some family time together. All you need are a few wool sweaters, some yarn and a hand-sewing needle with a big eye. Follow these simple instructions…
- A. Start by “felting” your 100% wool sweaters. Choose sweaters with great knitted in designs in colors that compliment your decorations. If you own sweaters that might be out-grown or have holes, use those… or shop thrift to find fabulous sweaters at very discounted prices. Place your sweaters inside a lingerie laundry bag and wash them using hot water and cold rinse. Felt light sweaters separately from dark as this process can create a lot of lint. Lay them flat to dry.
- Using an old Christmas stocking as a pattern, or download our pattern. Place the pattern on the sweater with the top opening of the stocking at the lower edge of the sweater. Cut around the pattern on the line (or just outside the edge of your stocking) through both layers of sweater.
- Pin around the outside edge of the two layers cut, leaving the top edge open.
- Thread approx 4 yards of yarn onto your needle. Pull ends to meet so you will work with a double strand of yarn. Begin on the top right of the stocking and pull needle through leaving approx 6”. Tie a knot around stocking to anchor thread. Sew both layers together around the outside edge, ending at opposite edge from where you began. Be careful not to sew across top opening.
- Add a tab to hang your stocking: Using the remaining 4 yarns of yarn, cut 12 lengths of 12 inches each. Tie a knot at one end, split into 3 groups of 4 strands and braid to end. Knot end and trim. Use the 6” ends of yarn from the beginning of your blanket stitch to tie around the knots securely attaching tab to stocking. OR cut a 6” section from the sweater cuff or collar and secure to top right of stocking in same spot with the yarn and perhaps a button.
A new family tradition has been created!
Click here for printable directions… and have fun!