I don't always have time to make christmas cards every year, but I decided to this year and here are some of those that I have made over a couple of days. I've used bits off old christmas cards, scraps of fabric with some simple embroidery, stars cut out of some old music manuscript and the gift tags that came free with the December issue of Homes and Antiques.
When I was small me and my sister had two stockings, a plastic one that had our main christmas presents in and a knitted one. This knitted one has been a pair of socks that had belonged to my Mum's grandfather. They were hand-knitted and there was always a Terry's chocolate orange (in place of a real orange I presume) in the heel. These knitted ones have now disappeared, and although I have stockings hanging up as decorations around the house, I don't usually have one to 'open'.
The history of christmas stockings (with thanks to Wikipedia ).
There are many variations of the origin of christmas stockings, but basically the story went like this:
A long time ago, St. Nicholas was passing through village when he heard villagers talking about a very poor old man who had three daughters and who was worried what would happen to them when died.
St. Nicholas wanted to help, but he knew that the old man wouldn't accept charity, so he decided to help in secret. During the night he crept into the house through the chimney (hence the Father Christmas story of him coming down the chimney). He had three bags of gold with him, one for each of the girls, and whilst looking around to find somewhere to hide them, he noticed the girls' stockings hanging at the mantelpiece. He put a bag of gold into each of the stockings and he left. When the old man and the girls woke the next morning they found the gold coins and were overjoyed.The girls were able to get married and lived happily ever after.
This story led to the custom of children hanging stockings up and waiting for gifts from St. Nicholas. The oranges that were traditionally placed in stockings, may represent the bags of gold.
When the tradition began in Eastern Europe children put up their own stockings, but eventually christmas stockings were made for the purpose.
You can now buy, and make, christmas stockings in all shapes and sizes and bring them out every christmas.