Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advent Calendar: Christmas Stockings

Geneabloggers is once again hosting the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories encouraging family historians to write about their holiday traditions.

This post is a revision of two Advent entries from 2011.

Our family Christmas stockings are more decorative than functional.  Only a couple stocking stuffers actually ever fit. 

My stocking was made by my mother from a pattern that she drew herself.  The fabric is a heavy cotton, maybe a good quality of muslin, certainly not as heavy as canvas.  She cut out a tree and star from felt and sewed them on by hand.  She attached some plastic berries, pinecones encased in yarn, and a jingle bell for the toe.  There is no loop for hanging, so the stocking simply lay on the hearth.  On Christmas morning the stocking was placed among the Santa gifts to distinguish my gifts from my sister’s gifts. 

Christmas stocking

Momma’s sewing and crafting skills obviously improved greatly over the years.  When the grandkids came along, she made them some fancy shmancy stockings.  She smocked my girls’ names on the top part of the stocking made from red and white polka dotted fabric.  White eyelet lace and a jingle bell completed the look.

Christmas stockings

When my sister and I became adults and were on our own, believe it or not, Santa continued to bring a stocking.  However, our stocking was no longer a stocking.

It was a shopping bag.  A big one.

Christmas 2009
See the shopping bag stockings!

The bag could be filled with any variety of goodies from hand lotion to earrings to slippers to kitchen gadgets to underwear to frying pans.  Many years we got underwear AND a frying pan.  Shopping bag gifts are not necessarily small nor necessarily cheap.

Mary Jollette and Christmas Shopping Bag

After our parents passed away, my sister and I decided to continue the Shopping Bag tradition because that was truly our most anticipated gift to open on Christmas morning.  What would be in that bag?  Some flavored coffee?  New gardening gloves?  A piece of our china?  Vintage pillow cases?  A bell jar?  Maybe underwear and a frying pan.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Good morning. Those stockings with the smocking are very pretty. I always look forward to finding treasures in my stocking!

  2. I love your Shopping Bag Stocking tradition! What a fun idea.

  3. Your mom did a lovely job on those stockings. I love the little bells on the toes. And shopping bag stockings? How fun is that!

  4. My boys have graduated to the shopping bag this year. =)