There are a few must-have Christmas items you need to celebrate the season right. A Christmas tree is a no-brainer along with lights, ornaments and of course a star to put on top. Outdoor Christmas decorations also help keep up appearances in the neighborhood and turn your house into a sparkling holiday diamond once a year, so that’s fun. Some nut crackers never hurt anybody, a nativity scene is always appreciated if that’s what you’re into, and of course you can’t go wrong with a few Christmas stockings hanging over the fireplace.
The Origin of Christmas Stockings
It’s picturesque, isn’t it? Christmas stockings seem to be about as old as the holiday itself. What are stockings? They’re essentially giant socks that hold all of your “stocking stuffers” or little presents that compliment and add to your regular haul underneath the tree.
Christmas stockings are so pivotal to the holiday itself that they’re explicitly mentioned in the classic Christmas poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” — where St. Nick “fill’d all the stockings, then turn’d with a jerk,/ And laying a finger aside of his nose/ And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.”
One of the most popular origin stories of Christmas stockings tells the tale of a recently widowed man who was having trouble raising his three daughters on his own. Santa Claus heard about his plight and decided to help him out, by descending down the Christmas tree and filling all of the girls’ socks, that just happened to be drying by the fire, with gold coins. Thus the tradition of stockings was born, that many people still celebrate to this day.
Oranges and Christmas Stockings
Many people also put oranges in Christmas stockings and few know the reason why. Some speculate that it’s due to the fact that there was a Great Depression-era time when fresh fruit was more difficult to come by than it is today. Another potential reason is that in the tale above, St. Nick gave gold balls instead of coins but since those are difficult to come by, oranges were the next best thing.
Christmas Stocking Alternatives
In other countries, like Iceland, Hungary and Germany, children leave shoes out for Santa Claus in addition to, and sometimes instead of, Christmas stockings so be filled with candy and goodies by the big man. In the Netherlands children leave hay and carrots in their shoes for St. Nicholas’ horses, and in Spain children leave shoes by the fireplace for gifts from the Wise Men instead of Santa Claus himself.
No matter how you like to fill your stockings, it’s a widely held tradition in the US that adds to the excitement and cultural significance of the day. To help you prepare for Christmas this year, we’ve gathered our favorite Christmas stockings from around the web for you to check out. Whether you prefer something old-school that closely resembles a sock from your dad’s drawer, or want something intricately embroidered, we’ve got something to suit your tastes.
1. The Holiday Aisle Very Merry Christmas Stocking
These Christmas stockings have a classic look and a faux fir trim on the top that compliments the festive design. Each one features vivid colors and a unique yet complimentary look that includes a cardinal, a buck reindeer, poinsettias and a Merry Christmas message. The reindeer is made of gold printed foil on plaid fabric and the poinsettia glistens and shimmers. With this pack you can knock out four stockings with one purchase that all match but give each member of the family something distinct.
2. Aitey 18″ Christmas Stockings
These Christmas stockings take regular ol’ stockings to the next level, literally, by adding larger than life plush decorations to the front and being large enough to stuff with all sorts of goodies come Christmas morning. They’re approximately 18″ long and 10″ wide, have a 3D applique design and are made out of high-quality cloth that will last you. The sturdy hanging look ensures a safe and secure hanging, even when filled to the brim with presents.
3. Natural Fair Isle Christmas Stockings
BEST CLASSIC DESIGN
These Christmas stockings harken back to the origin story where the vessels for the trinkets, candy and small goodies were actual socks, with an elevated twist. These stockings sport a sophisticated, warm holiday look with an option to personalize the top with each family member’s name. The stockings are made with a polyester wool blend of red, white, blue and charcoal grey tones that sets the mood perfectly over the fireplace. Plus, the socks are pretty long despite being a bit more narrow, with plenty of room for gifts.
4. Pottery Barn Quilted Christmas Stockings
BEST FOR KIDS
These quilted stockings from Pottery Barn are high-quality, well-made and sturdy enough to use with children. They come in a wide variety of character choices for the front including the Grinch, a juggling Santa Claus and a Light Up Snowman. You can personalize them with names and choose the overall color between red, blue and gray. They’re made of 100% cotton with bright, vibrant colors weaved into each one with environmentally-safe dye.
5. Aitey Beige 18″ Christmas Stockings
These stockings are a hoot and a holler, and definitely on-brand for Christmas. They’re similar to a previous option on this list, with a beige/plaid theme that makes them coordinate well with one another. They’re got a large opening up top for stuffing in gifts and will match green holiday decor well, like a tree. They’re made of burlap material and fleece fabric with fluff for the plush additions. This triple pack sets you up for the season, and you can always double or triple up on orders depending on how many people you’ve got in your family.
6. Kunyida 14″ Christmas Stockings
BEST KNIT DESIGN
If you want to appear as if you knit your Christmas stockings during quarantine, but would rather buy them, we got you. These knit stockings are super affordable and come in warming festive burgundy, white and ivory colors. They’re a bit shorter than other stocking options but don’t require a liner to hold in all the gifts. They’re handmade and come ready to hang on the mantel.
7. Christmas Tree Needlepoint Christmas Stocking
BEST NEEDLEPOINT DESIGN
Needlepoint is a classic design for Christmas stockings due the variety of designs you can create. This Christmas tree one is adorable, and comes with the option for embroidery for each family member’s name. The needlepoint face is 100% wool and there’s a soft cotton velvet cuff up top that includes the name. The toe is also velvet as well as the backing for a solid construction, and the whole stocking measures about 7.5″ wide and 17″ long with plenty of room for presents.
8. Wintry Cheer Santa Personalized Christmas Stocking
Many Christmas stockings you can buy online come with an option for a personal embroidery, but I like this one the best. The design is cozy, and the name at the top really pops against the plaid. The Santa has a buffalo check cuff as an accent detail and it has an attached loop for easy hanging. The material is thick and high-quality and the long stocking is big enough to hold the number of gifts everyone wants.
9. Monogrammed Dog Christmas Stocking
BEST DOG STOCKING
We can’t forget about our furry friends! These dog Christmas stockings are adorably paw-shaped and come in festive plaid colors of red and green. They measure 10″ wide and 17″ long at their widest, and you can choose between nine different fonts for the embroidered name. They’re perfect for stuffing with treats, toys and your pup’s favorite thing on Christmas Eve and each stocking comes with a bone-shaped charm for an added decorative element.
10. Pottery Barn Solid Quilted Stockings
BEST QUILTED DESIGN
This simple, solid quilted design is a great option for families that want matching stockings for each member. They come in sizes ranging from x-small all the way to x-large and include intricate 3-D details and embroidery. You can add appliques onto the design if you’d like, and the checkered detailing up top with the loop ties the whole decoration together nicely.
11. GEX 22″ Velvet Christmas Stockings
These velvet Christmas stockings are huge — 22″ long to be exact, so there shouldn’t be any concern about being able to gift all the stocking stuffers you wish. They’re hand-sewn using velvet fabric and include decorative message elements on the front. Each pack comes with six stockings of various colors and designs so each member can choose their favorite.
12. Classic Reindeer Cuff Christmas Stockings
If you’re tightening your purse strings this Christmas, as so many will be, you don’t have to go without festive stockings. These are made of burlap fabric with plush faux fur up top and fleece deer sewn onto the front and come in a pack of four for less than $16. The uniform design is perfect for decorating your home as it’s not too overwhelming but cheery. They’re also 18″ long with wide openings up top for inserting presents.
13. Plush Snowflake Christmas Stocking
BEST MONOCHROME DESIGN
These snowflake Christmas stockings are soft, cozy and a great monochrome option if you’re going for an all-white theme in your Christmas decorating this year. They compliment any existing decor and the faux-fir is all over the stocking rather than just on the cuff, a unique touch. The stockings also have white velvet on them as well as silver sequin embroidery for a little shine.
14. Avondale Pinecone Tufted Stocking
BEST TUFTED DESIGN
This tufted stocking design is unique, textured and adds a homey decorative element to your house when hung by the fire. The designs feature an ornament, a cardinal, a Christmas tree and pine cones and holly all of which meld together beautifully in an array of classic Christmas. They’re made of cotton in a red and green motif that’ll blend in with other decor well and only require a bit of spot cleaning to freshen up their look occasionally.
15. Metal Deer Christmas Stocking Holders
BEST STOCKING HOLDERS
You’re going to need sturdy stocking holders in order to keep your stuffed goodie bags mounted on the mantel on display. These Christmas deer holders are made of brushed brass and weighted so they’ll stay in place. They’ve got a capacity of 3 lbs each and eliminate the need for nails that damage your fireplace. The pack includes a stag, doe and two fawns to complete the family.