Stocking Iterations Over 34 Years

Eliza's stocking -in process

While working on baby Eliza's stocking recently, I realized that our stockings have gone through a sort of evolution which reflects both the various crafts popular during their era and my amount of free time.

At this point in our family life we have a real mishmash of stocking types. I suppose ideally, I'd start over and make a whole new set of matching stockings for everyone in our family. And, to fit the times, I guess they should either be burlap (or maybe that's passe' by now?) or perhaps all white. But I'm not about to start all over. So here's the hodge-podge we have.

Way back in the early 1980s, I made these beauties for Tim and I for our first Christmas:

ca. 1981

Their chief asset is size. (They dwarf the little ones I've made for everyone else. Mwahahaha!) Plus they were speedy things to whip up with the prequilted fabric, important since that December I was more focused on studying for chemistry finals than making Christmas crafts.

But then our first children started arriving, and I had more spare time. At least at first. And cross stitch was all the rage, so of course that's what I used.

CHILDREN'S STOCKING #1 - mid '80s-early '90s

But all that cross-stitching was tedious! Plus the demands on my time were ever growing. Not to mention the fact that PRAIRIE POINTS were all the rage!

So we moved on to:

CHILDREN'S STOCKINGS #2 - mid '90s -early 2000s

These stockings went together more quickly than the cross-stitched one. But the truth is, mostly I switched because I just like doing hand quilting better than I like cross-stitching.

These stockings have serviced our family pretty well. But a few years ago the grands started arriving and we needed more.

And by this time, the old prairie points look dated. So - on to a new style!


These are really fun to sew! And reasonably quick, since the only hand sewing is on the binding. I more or less use this tutorial.   Some day I hope to get around to embroidering names on each one, but I don't think that's going to happen this year. ;)

And just for fun, here's the stocking MY mom made for me, 55 years ago:

ca. 1960 - sadly in need of some restoration
It's made of wool felt and was originally outlined with blanket stitching. Even though it has deteriorated significantly over the years, it's amazing how much I can still see my sweet mother's personality in her stitching. I do miss her.


Andrew Dionne said…
How fun! I'd like to know how a big family like yours FILLS the stockings. Who fills them? What sort of things go in?
Anne said…
Well, Tim and I do the filling for the most part. But it's not unusual for someone else to come along and put something in as well. I know that one child this year has been making some very small items for every sibling.

We do keep the contents pretty simple with a mixture of useful and fun things. Here are some of the things we've chosen from in past years:

hair things, hair brushes, ribbons, etc.
lip gloss
nail polish
fun pens and other small craft items (washi tape?)

Guys (harder!):
hand warmers
tiny notebooks
small Lego kits
pocket knives

flashlights (But not this year, guys!)
new ornament (Also - not this year – except for the grands – sorry big kids!)
socks or tights/leggings, especially fun socks or fuzzy ones for girls
ear buds
Silly Putty
deck of cards
Post-it notes – in fun colors or shapes
charging cord wrappers
And candy (of course!)

We used to give those tiny Dover books ($1 or $1.50) – stickers, paper dolls, stained glass, mazes

The stocking stuffer that went over the worst – Emory boards. Nail clippers and tooth brushes haven't been all that appreciated either.

OK - TO MY KIDS - and I know you read this!
The above lists are no indication of what may or may not appear in your stockings this year!

And if you have anything to add - you can tell what were your favorites and least favorites. Just be kind. ;)
Anonymous said…
My favorite stocking gifts are the flashlights and the candy. The least favorite thing in there is the chap-stick. -Ben
Anonymous said…
Living on the edge of tornado alley and in the middle of southern Indiana (which has a lot of caves) I really appreciate the flashlights. The cards are always fun so we can play something in the afternoon like "spoons." Silly Putty also works well for our family since many of us can't not have something in our hands.
I haven't really used note books from stockings. Also, I don't really use book markers since I read so few books at a time, I always remember where I left off. -Peter
Pandabear said…
For whatever reason, it seems like whenever there is silly putty only one person has it and everyone else tries to get half of it to mess with. I like getting the chapstick, usually just plain stuff. The ice-cream cake one I got a while ago smelled just like cake batter and was rather strange. Cards are nice too, cause they can get rather abused in our games and don't have the longest lifespan... Not that we're competitive or anything in spoons.

I don't use charging cord wrappers. I find that my cords move around to much to ever have a standard length that I need to wind up.

Socks, especially long ones, and flashlights are my favorites and I use them all the time.
Andrew Dionne said…
I love reading your kids' comments! I think my kids would say that one of their all time favorite stocking stuffers have been fingerlights, tiny flashlights that strap on to your fingers. Those always get a lot of use until the batteries die. And the resident toddler always gets a small box of cereal or teddy grahams so she can sit in the middle of the chaos and eat slowly while the older kids get into their stockings. Merry Christmas, Wegeners! ~ Sarah Dionne
Anne said…
Woah - finger flashlights sound terrifically fun! And Merry Christmas to the Dionne clan!
Kristen Wegener said…
I second (or 4th?) the flashlights! My patients may even have seen them a time or two. Perfect for checking pupils! ;)
Anne said…
And we thought everyone was tired of flashlights!

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