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Then and Now: A Look at Christmas Stockings

Then and Now: A Look at Christmas Stockings

18th Dec 2020

Are you as obsessed with Christmas stockings as we are?

Learn more about the history of Christmas stockings and a scandalous moment in holiday history

The holidays are here! And whether or not you traditionally celebrate Christmas or prefer to do your own thing, we can all agree that it's a time for generosity and togetherness. We wanted to give mad props to Charles Dickens for bringing that holiday spirit to the masses. He may not have been the first to write about the Christmas season, but he's celebrated for superimposing his humanitarian vision of the holidays upon the public. 

Thanks, Charles Dickens!

Just think about all the Christmas traditions we wrap up into the season. Copious amounts of food with frosting and peppermints washed down with egg-nog goodness is the most obvious place to start. Our Christmas music playlists and clothing we wear also give a shout-out to the holiday spirit.

Why do we hang up Christmas stockings?

It's probably no secret we're sock obsessed over here. If you're like us, you've wondered why we have Christmas stockings and why we hang them over the fire. There's no written origin of what's up with the Christmas stockings, but some versions point back to St. Nicholas. The legend goes that an old, poor man had three unmarried daughters and no dowry but also wouldn't take charity. So St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold through a window, and one of them landed in a stocking the girl hung on the fireplace to dry. Score!

There's no clear answer on how this story got associated with Christmas and when it originated, but the earliest literary reference can be found in the poem by Clement Clarke Moore Twas the Night Before Christmas from 1823. Say it with us, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."

Did you know Christmas was once banned?

It turns out Christmas was also totally taboo at one point. In the USA, Christmas observance was banned by Boston puritans in 1659 and revoked in 1681. It wasn't until the mid-19th century that celebrating Christmas became fashionable again.

Move over Pinterest, the 1940s loved DIY

You can dig way back to discover that original Christmas stockings were long, white socks waiting to be stuffed with goodies. It wasn't until the 1940s that families started to decorate and personalize their stockings to celebrate the season. The DIY designs were so popular that craft stores thrived, selling all kinds of knits, stencils, and other supplies needed to customize one's stockings.

The stockings usually depicted Santa Clause, reindeer, snowflakes, and other winter wonderland themes, and they were one-of-a-kind and personalized with the owner's name embroidered on them. By the 1970s and 1980s, we were introduced to mass produced Christmas stockings in all kinds of shapes and sizes, popular cartoons, holiday themes, and things you never thought you needed on a stocking.

Settle the debate for us! Store-bought or home-made? Which ones do you prefer? Share the image and the story of your Christmas Stockings on our Facebook page. If you're feeling inspired, you can also browse our selection of holiday socks over at Absolute Socks.

Happy holidays!

~ The Dream Team at Absolute Socks