While there is no definitive story behind stocking stuffers (or fillers, as they’re known in some countries), most sources reference the legendary St. Nick as the originator. Supposedly, St. Nicholas of Myra was traveling through a small town and heard villagers discussing the fate of a recently-widowed neighbor and his three daughters. As the story goes, the man was destitute and couldn’t afford dowries for his daughters. St. Nick to the rescue! He dropped gold down the chimney for the daughters, which landed in their newly-washed stockings hanging to dry by the fire.
Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated around the world, on a day during the months of December and January. In the United States, Santa Claus is our version of St. Nick; in Britain, he’s called Father Christmas. The stocking stuffer tradition varies as well: some children leave out shoes for their gifts, in some countries, gifts are placed under pillows, but in most, stockings hold the goodies. Unless of course, the recipient has been “bad” and gets only a lump of coal!
Replacing plain old socks and stockings these days are elaborately decorated hand-crafted stockings hung over a fireplace, as the famous poem says:
"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there"
Judging by their popularity, it seems most agree that stocking stuffers can be a big part of the fun during the holidays. Whether they’re opened before the major gifts, or after, as a bit of a wind-down, the stocking's contents can be creative, personalized to the receiver and a budget-friendly addition to your holiday traditions.
A few things to think about as you shop for – or make – stocking stuffers:
- Tradition includes some food -- most commonly an orange (perhaps a figurative allusion to a lump of coal but does fill out the toe nicely) and some sweet treats.
- Practical additions can include a new toothbrush, toothpaste or other beauty or grooming items.
- Small articles of clothing, like a pair of warm gloves, a scarf or fun socks are welcome.
- For kids, small toys, games, board books or stickers will occupy them; adults will enjoy a challenging puzzle or card game.
- Think of a theme for the recipient – are they a traveler, DIY’er, crafter, new mom/dad, ardent reader, yoga aficionado, aspiring artist, avid organizer? All items in the stocking can be tied to the theme. Shopping may take a bit longer but the end result is sure to please.
- A gift card is the perfect size for a stocking and fits everyone! Plus, it’s a fun way to keep the holidays going through an upcoming online or in-store shopping trip.
- If the recipient has a particular interest or hobby, find a small token they can use: new fishing lures, golf balls, a cooking utensil, a travel accessory, ski cap, some art supplies or a DIY tool cab all fit perfectly in a Christmas stocking.
- Everyone loves gadgets – some wireless earphones, a phone charger, flashlight, cord ties (like Packbands!) or a new phone case will all come in handy.
- Don’t forget the pets: your favorite cat or dog can be remembered on this holiday with their own stocking filled with treats and toys.
Packbands hopes your holidays are merry and your stockings stuffed with goodies galore!
Packbands are strong, stretchy, adjustable storage straps. 100% eco-friendly silicone, Packbands have hundreds of uses for travel, home, work, sports and play. For more info, visit www.packbands.com.