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A Stocking for Everyone


From the sweetness of a baby’s first stocking to an elegantly monogrammed velvet stocking, it’s not Christmas without the tradition of hanging festive cloth bags stuffed with small goodies. The origin of Christmas stockings is a hazy one, mostly mythical, and made popular by the poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. If it’s part of your holiday tradition, you want to start a Christmas stocking tradition in your home or you want to give a hostess gift wrapped in a special stocking, let Pottery Barn give you tips on everything from choosing to cleaning them so you can turn into heirlooms over time.



Choosing your stocking style is almost like choosing your family’s crest. Your family’s personality and character will guide you to the right style. Or try selecting a stocking to match the individual personality of each member of your family, which can turn into a cherished memory over time. Today, there’s a stocking with a design or style to fit everyone’s personality, from stockings with your favorite TV characters faces on them to sequined versions in neon colors fit for teenagers. If you’re intent on keeping a color theme, but want every one in your family to feel, consider selecting stockings in the same color but made from various materials. Think of how beautiful a fireplace would look decorated with a row of hanging snow-white stockings—one cable knit, one quilted, one faux fur and one velvet. 



Besides the Christmas tree, the mantel decor is the other focal point of your room. Your mantel will no doubt become busier and more colorful during holiday time than it is through the year when it has a carefully edited display. But for Christmas, the creativity flows, and stockings are part of the decor. If you already have stockings, choosing your color and theme for mantel decor may come naturally to you. for example, neutral faux-fur stockings pair with pinecones, gold ornaments, white lights and white candles on the mantel. Or pull out a color from your stocking collection for your mantel design. Red one year, green the next, maybe gold or silver in years to come. 



For the creative and eclectic Christmas stocking collection, why not include some bought, some handmade or simply update them with quirky designs that bring glitter and glamour to the holiday. If you have a favorite sweater, turn it into a stocking for decoration. Make mini stockings to intersperse with your larger stockings, and give them away as gift bags filled with candy, use to hold utensils at the dinner table or use as hanging decor. 



Hanging stockings on a fireplace mantel is a classic way to display holiday cheer. But what if you don’t have a fireplace, what then? There are plenty of places to hang a filled stocking:


  • Stocking floor stands that can be moved around.
  • Hang them on wall hooks.
  • Hang them off your staircase railing.
  • Hang them from existing wall shelves and ledges or from your entertainment center’s ledge.
  • Surprise your family by sneaking in and hanging them on their bedposts or footboards on Christmas morning. 
  • For a rustic wall display, bring indoors a big branch and temporarily attach it to the wall.
  • Hang them off the back of dining room chairs.
  • Hang them off a coat tree.
  • Hang them from a window sill (indoors, of course).
  • Hang them from door knobs.
  • Don’t hang them at all! Instead, lay them neatly next to one another on a bench, sofa or chair.



The last thing you want is for something to knock into your stockings and see them toppling over to the floor. But, you’d really like to find a way to hang your stockings without using nails. You can always hang them the classic way--from cup hooks discretely screwed in under the mantel, or find mantel clips that hold stockings or finally, rely on classic paper-weight style stocking holders, but be careful of children and pets accidently knocking into them. If you’re hanging them from chairs or railings, hang them on ribbon wrapped around the chair back or banister.


When the holidays are over, don’t forget to care for your stockings so they stay colorful, soft and in shape throughout the years. Most likely they are a bit dirty from handling, not to mention if they were on a mantel, there could be some odor or dust from the fireplace. Dry clean velvet, felt and needlepoint stockings. Spot clean jeweled or faux fur stockings and wipe it down with a slightly damp, clean cloth and let air dry completely. Gently hand wash knit, crochet or quilted stockings and just like a sweater, dry flat and reshape while drying.