Christmas Stockings

Pattern for teddy in stocking
© F H Powell 2013

There can be few images that evoke the spirit of Christmas more than the Christmas stocking hung by the fire or on the end of a child’s bed. But why a stocking and where did the idea come from? The hanging of stockings goes back a long way maybe as far as the sixteenth century. Two popular theories surround the practice of hanging stockings for Santa Claus.

The first comes from an early Dutch tradition of leaving clogs filled with straw for the reindeer and a small gift for Santa Claus by the fire. Santa would then leave a small treat in return by the hearth. Over the years the clogs were replaced with stockings. Although children in some European countries still put out shoes to be filled on 6th December – St Nicholas’ Day.

The second involves a widower and his three daughters. The widower had cared for his sick wife until her death. This had taken all of his money. His three daughters were to marry but, as the custom of the time demanded, each daughter must give her new husband gifts of value or a dowry. Having spent all his money on his sick wife the father was unable to supply the dowries and this troubled him deeply. Hearing of the mans plight St Nicholas went to the mans house late one night with three bags of gold, one for each daughter. The sisters had washed their stockings and hung them by the fire to dry over night. Seeing the stockings St Nicholas decided to leave a bag of gold in each.

Whatever the source of the tradition the hanging of Christmas stockings continues. Whether, as in years gone by, to be the sole repository for all Christmas presents or just as a place for those smaller ones aside from the main presents. Your dolls house can join in this time honoured tradition. We have a 1/12th scale teddy in a stocking pattern available here on our blog.