The History of the Christmas Stocking

history of the Christmas stocking






The Christmas stocking is one of the most traditional Christmas decorations around. Every year children hang their stockings by the fireplace with hopes that Santa Claus will fill them with toys and treats. Although it is hard to imagine Christmas morning without thinking of stockings filled with goodies, do you know how it is that Christmas stockings became such a common piece of holiday decor? We’ll discuss the history of the Christmas stocking here, and then show some of our favorites for a wide range of recipients.

A Charitable Beginning

Most accounts of the history of the Christmas stocking start by drawing from an old tale about Saint Nicholas. The story—titled “Three Impoverished Maidens”—tells the tale of a father and his three daughters. Impoverished and destined for a life of struggle, the family’s misfortune was brought to the attention of St. Nicholas. In an effort to help the family anonymously, St. Nick stopped by the family’s home in the middle of the night and dropped gold into the home via a window. The daughters awoke to find the gold, which had landed in the stockings they had hung above the fireplace to dry. From this point on, children would hang their stockings above the fireplace in hopes that St. Nicholas would bring them gifts. Thus a tradition was born that lives on to this day.

Stockings as Common Decorations

Displayed mostly in the Western world, the Christmas stocking now stands alongside the Christmas tree as a mainstay of Christmas décor. Throughout the history of the Christmas stocking, however, there had been competition between the two items. A popular New York Times article from 1883 describes the how the Christmas tree and the Christmas stocking were vying for dominance in the holiday decoration market. The strongly worded article argues that the Christmas stocking is superior to the tree based on practicality, even arguing that the Christmas tree “has had its day, and the glorious reaction in favor of the sacred stocking will sweep it away forever.” The prediction that the Christmas tree would be pushed out of the market was wrong, but to this day, Christmas stockings continue to serve as a festive way to decorate the home and welcome a certain jolly man and his magical bag of gifts.

The Stocking’s Evolution

Early on, the stockings hung for Santa Claus were socks plucked from the sock drawer and nailed to the mantel. Needless to say, this wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing display. Over the years, however, the design of the Christmas stocking evolved into the size and shape that we are all familiar today. The stockings we’re now accustomed to are much more accommodating for the treats and gifts that will fit in on Christmas morning. With this transition also came the practice of personalizing a stocking for every member of the family. Nothing tops off a collection of Christmas decorations like a personalized Christmas stocking! Christmas stockings have also become a way to show off your personality and what makes you unique.

Fun fact: a stocking made in Missouri is hoping to break the world record for largest stocking. Measuring 177 feet tall, 72 feet wide, and with a weight of over 800 pounds, even Santa might have difficulty filling this Christmas stocking with gifts.

This year’s lineup of Christmas stockings

The Classic

Classic Red Christmas Stocking

Red Plush Embroidered Christmas Stocking


Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics! This red plush stocking with a white cuff is often the first image that comes to mind when you think of Christmas stockings. With an elegantly embroidered name on the cuff, this is the most versatile design on the market. From newborn babies to adults to grandma and grandpa, this design works for everyone!

The Eye-Catcher

Sparkly Sequin Mermaid Stocking

Personalized Reversible Sequin Mermaid Stocking


For the mermaid-loving extrovert in your family, this stocking is a great way to show off her bubbly personality. Featuring unique reversible sequins, this stocking comes in blue, pink, and purple varieties. This stocking quite literally brightens up the room!

The Wordsmith

Monogram Stocking with Polka Dots

Word Art Whimsical Christmas Stocking


For a super unique way to decorate your home this year, look no further than a customized word-art stocking. We give the control of the design process of this personalized Christmas stocking to you, allowing you to input the words you’d like featured, customize other aspects of the design, and then click through until your stocking is exactly to your liking.


The Snapshot

Grey Stocking With Photo

Be Merry Personalized Photo Stocking


Why should your family and friends be the only ones who see your lovely Christmas card photo this year? This personalized photo stocking is a great way to display how beautiful your family looks! Upload any picture and it will be skillfully printed on this stocking for a truly remarkable decoration.


The Throwback

Retro Personalized Stocking

Embroidered Vintage Cable Knit Stocking


Sometimes one of the best ways to stay on trend is to look back to the popular styles of yesteryear. We have made many recent additions to our family of stockings that embrace some of the most beloved themes from earlier on in the history of the Christmas stocking.


The Festive

Dangling Legs 3D Christmas Stocking

Personalized Stripe Character Christmas Stocking


This stocking is for those who love the symbols of Christmas and winter, allowing you to choose between a Santa, reindeer, or snowman-themed design. Each adorable figure has legs that dangle off the front of the stocking, giving it a totally unique look. 

We hope you enjoyed learning about the history of the Christmas stocking. In addition to all of these unique stockings that we’ve highlighted in this post, we have more personalized stockings available, as well as plenty of other Christmas decor. Find something truly special to give to the friends and loved ones on your shopping list this holiday season.

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