I know. Stockings INSIDE of stockings? Your head may have just exploded. But piece it back together and consider how happy any lingerie addict would be to wake up on Christmas day and instead of finding in her Christmas stocking a deck of cards, chap stick, Hershey’s bar or lump of coal, she pulls out a gorgeous pair of stockings!
First, a little about the tradition of Christmas stockings. Considered ahistorically, it does seem a bit odd to hang things that normally contain feet, in expectation of receiving gifts in them. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive written history of the tradition, but I’ve come across a few legends that do a bit of explaining.
In one, a fourth century European nobleman is reduced to penury after years of crop failures and famine on his property. While he had begun his promising adulthood handsome, wealthy, and in love, he now must support the peasants nearby as well as his family. When he suddenly finds himself a widower and sole guardian of his three beautiful daughters he is distraught not only over his wife’s death, but because he does not have enough money to pay for his daughters’ marriages.
He is a good man, and sympathetic words spread about his plight. An unknown traveler named Nicholas hears and in the quiet of night comes to the man’s house in order to make a gift of gold coins to the man and his daughters. When looking for a secure place to leave the gold, he sees the daughters’ stockings hanging on the mantel to dry, and fills them each with gold.
An early mention, possibly the first, of Christmas stockings being hung near a chimney was by the poet Clement Clarke Moore in the poem “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there”
Around the same time, Santa Claus made his debut as a fully realized character in satirist Thomas Nast‘s illustrations for “Harpers” in the mid 19th century.
Now that stocking gifting traditions have evolved from gold coins to fruits and nuts to more personal goodies, I’ve collected a few of my favorite combinations of Christmas stockings (the hang-by-the-chimney type) along with their hosiery-stocking counterparts to share with you. So whether you’re playing Santa this year and need some stocking stuffer ideas or you’re collecting items for your own wish list or you’re a bystander in this Christmas affair and are simply a fan of hosiery, here are goodies for 5 tastes: Classic, Cute and Cozy, Pin up, Playful, and Burlesque.
Ah, the classic red stocking. Always a winner. Here’s an equally reliable winner in the hosiery department. I like how the red bows are festive and fun but not overstated.
Cute and Cozy:
This is so charming and cute, it deserves a similarly adorable stuffer inside. These tights are cozy and bring a fun spirit to winter while not being too juvenile.
So this may not be the right choice for every household, but its tongue-in-cheek sauciness is irresistible to me. This pin up stocking deserves fishnets.
These handmade modern interpretations of the traditional stocking are so bright and pretty I would want leave them up all year around. Fun striped socks are also good for year round romps.
The grand finale! This comic-sexy leg Christmas stocking is ingenious. In homage to its clever creator, I would fill it with a lacy, delicate patterned stocking. I love this one from a favorite brand, Wolford, because its lace-lookalike patterning is actually peacock feathers, which is a little unexpected and very cool.
What are your stocking traditions? Share your wish list with us!