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Stocking Tales to Welcome Christmas Home

Tuesday, December 15, 2020   /   by Frank Hornstein

Stocking Tales to Welcome Christmas Home

Stocking Tales to Welcome Christmas Home

Long long ago, the legend goes, there lived a poor widower who worried that his poverty would prevent his three beautiful daughters from marrying. In those days, young women lacking dowries not only might not marry, but they also could be sold into slavery. A bishop named Nicholas heard word of the poor widower’s dilemma. One night, he came by and tossed a bag of gold into the house, and it landed in a stocking hanging by the fire to dry. Soon after, the first daughter wed. Nicholas, now known as St. Nick, repeated his visits, until there was enough gold to marry off the other two as well.

Erin Carlyle

Photo from Mark Dixon

This story is why we now hang stockings for Santa Claus, according to the St. Nicholas Center in Holland, Michigan. Now you know. We asked Houzz readers to tell us their stocking stories — none of which, we noticed, have anything to do with gold coins. Read on for some stocking stories to welcome the holiday into your home.

Same Stockings for 60 Years

Whether we know the legend or not, for many people, Christmas stockings have a traditional, heirloom aspect. In fact, some Houzz readers say they have used the same stockings since they were children.

This photo shows reader Mark Dixon and Jeff, his brother. “My brother (left) and I have been using the same Xmas stockings for 60-plus years,” Dixon writes. “Made by our grandmother in … well, I’m not sure when. This was taken in 1954.” The stockings now hang from different mantels, but the brothers still use them to this day.

Christmas Stockings Stuffed With Memories

Erin Carlyle

Photo from klomeli

They All Need to Match

Houzz reader klomeli learned the hard way that her children didn’t want to change out their stockings — ever. “I bought the first five stockings when my daughter was born 28 years ago,” she says. “Around 18 years ago I bought new stockings and hung them. The kids were not happy about this. They wanted the old ones back.” So klomeli donated the new stockings.

When klomeil’s son’s wife came along, the son found a similar stocking for her — and he bought extra stockings in the same style. Klomeli, too, kept an eye out for stockings matching their family’s particular sort. “I now buy them when I find them, and am well-stocked when it comes to adding family members,” she writes. She adds that their stocking count has grown to include ones for a daughter-in-law, a boyfriend, two grandchildren and four dogs, and their mantel still has room for more.

Houzz reader ninigret prefers a mix-and-match stocking approach over a matchy-matchy one. She has made stockings for her two children, her daughter-in-law, her son-in-law and her new grandson.

Erin Carlyle

Photo from begreen

Made With Love

Houzz reader begreen follows the matching-stockings tradition — and she’s the one who makes sure the stockings match. “I’ve made a stocking for each and every new family member for the last 40 years from the same Vogue sewing pattern,” begreen writes. “Here are three [seen here], ready and waiting for Santa!”

Toni Kratochvil had a stocking that her aunt made for her when she was a child, and eventually it was in bad shape. “So I took it apart and reused the beads and other things that were on it to decorate the new stocking that I made. I showed it to my aunt when I was done. She loved it!” Kratochvil says. “My aunt is gone now, so it holds good memories for me these days.”

Reader ksalemstar says her mother made a stocking for her more than 60 years ago. “Mom continued to make similar stockings (different motifs) for my sister and brother, followed by stockings for each son-in-law, daughter-in-law and all four grandchildren … all still in use — all much loved! A sweet memory of our mother — she passed away at 90 years of age in October 2016.”

Houzz Readers Share Their Christmas Villages

Erin Carlyle

Photo from Edmonton Designer

More Is More When It Comes to Decor

Others take a stylistic approach to the stocking tradition, as opposed to a sentimental one. “I subscribe to the ‘more is more’ principle of interior decorating! My stockings are a reflection of that … layers of beauty against a backdrop of salon-style art on the walls,” Edmonton Designer writes.

Design Fixation [Faith Provencher]

Forget About the Gifts

Christmas has changed a lot over the years for Sharon Joyce. “We had cherished stockings I made for my husband and kids, but they got lost in a move, so I bought some charming knitted stockings … and as our children partnered and our menagerie of pets grew, I bought more, and then more again,” Joyce writes. Her youngest is now almost 27. The Christmas menus have changed, as many family members have become vegetarian, and the attendee list has too, as grown kids have been spending time with their in-laws. Even the Christmas location has changed — Joyce traded a suburban house for a rural one that’s a two-day drive away.

“One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is our family’s love of the Christmas stocking tradition,” Joyce says. “When we all decided a couple of years ago to dramatically scale back on the gift-giving, we agreed the stockings definitely stayed.”

Megan Hansen

Your turn: Share your Christmas stocking traditions in the Comments!

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