Christmas stockings celebrate tradition while adding color, texture, and contrast to holiday decor. You can fashion them from a variety of materials, such as velvet, felt, satin, and linen, and in styles ranging from the clean lines of modern-day design to classic Scandinavian country.
Choose a stocking project to match your skill level. Gussying up store-bought stockings with buttons, beads, or simple stitching takes little time and can fit any budget, while glitter and sequins brighten even the most ordinary fabric.
For more adventure, try a material, technique, or style that is new to you. Go beyond traditional red and green in color choices, and consider snow figures, Santas, or angels. Stockings that reflect the interests and personalities of family members add thoughtful touches. Your budding rock star will love a stocking embellished with guitars and records. For the sailing buff, craft a nautical theme.
If your home doesn't have a fireplace, there are plenty of other places Santa will find, including bedposts, doorknobs, clothing hooks, and stairway banisters. You also can display stockings from freestanding holders placed on a bookshelf or table edge.
Wherever you hang your stockings with care this Christmas, you'll join in a centuries-old tradition. One legend claims the custom began in the 16th century when Dutch children placed their wooden clogs by the hearth in hopes that "Sinterklaas" would fill them with treats. Another tale says that Saint Nicholas dropped gold coins down the chimney of the home of three poor sisters in England. The coins landed in stockings left to dry by the fire, giving the sisters a dowry, thus the means to marry.
Remember to follow proper safety measures when hanging your stockings. Make sure they won't catch fire dangling from the mantel. Avoid heavy freestanding holders if you have small children who might pull on a stocking, causing the holder to fall and possibly injure the child.