traditions santa hearth_36360St. Nicholas is responsible for the stocking’s link to Christmas. The legend goes that in the fourth century he threw coins down a chimney to help a poor father with a dowry for his youngest daughter. The coins landed in a stocking drying by the fire. Putting oranges and tangerines in stockings has long been a way of representing this golden generosity.

Christmas stockings were firmly in public consciousness by the 19th century. The 1823 poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” twice refers to stockings and German-born, American-based illustrator Thomas Nast’s cartoon “Christmas Morning” showed children rummaging through stockings for presents. In 1854, Susan Warner had her book published entitled: “Carl Krinken; or, The Christmas stocking”. It tells of a poor boy who receives a magical, talking stocking. In 1869, Nast’s drawing of Father Christmas taking toys from his sack near a fireplace bearing four stockings is further proof of their growing use in America. It appears in George Webster’s story: “Santa Claus And All His Works”. Among the many and varied Christmas drawings by Nast (1840-1902) is one of a small boy standing on the head of a bearskin rug, nailing a stocking – personalised with the word ‘Mother’ – to the mantelpiece.


The How to Christmas team are big fans of Christmas stockings. Sacks, bags and even pillowcases are all great for gifts of bulk and quantity. But there is something magical about hanging a Christmas stocking on a mantle or bedpost ready for Father Christmas to fill with tiny treats. For an extensive list of options CLICK HERE for our Christmas Stockings page in The Christmas Home section, including a splendid range of personalised stockings from Have a simple scroll down this page for ideas for themed stockings and stocking filler gifts for both children and adults.

Themed Christmas Stockings

Tailor your stockings to the hobbies, likes, loves and passions of your family and friends with themed stockings. Check out our Movie Gift Boxes page for ideas on how to create a film theme. You might want to adapt “The Grinch” box for stocking use by purchasing a furry red and white stocking, attaching a Grinch badge and hanging it with lime green ribbon. Include such gifts as vibrant green jellybeans, popcorn, candy canes, green Tic-tacs, a tree decoration of the ‘green and mean one’ and a soft toy dog in honour of the Grinch’s pet Max. Here are more ideas:

For Gardeners: Hit the local garden centre and you will be awash with possibilities. We suggest: gardening gloves, packets of seeds, secateurs, trowel, birdseed balls, robin Christmas tree decoration. Stocking basic

For Chocolate Lovers: With so much ‘posh’ chocolate around at Christmas, why not fill a stocking with some regular bars and bags of deliciousness that will go down a treat with any chocolate lover – Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut, Turkish Delight, Picnic, Bounty, Lion Bar, Ripple, Flake, Kit Kat, Maltesers, Crunchie, Aero, Minstrels…need we go on?

For Coffee Addicts: Do you know someone who relishes a coffee fix, then you might consider: Christmas filter coffee, Nespresso pods, Starbucks coffee sachets, chocolate sprinkles, stencils for chocolate topping, cappuccino cup and saucer, chocolate stirring spoon, crystal sugar stirring sticks, flavoured syrups.

Stocking basicFor Pets: your cats and dogs deserve stockings too so think sweet and savoury treats, squeaky toys, collars, portable and foldable feeding bowls, nametags.

For Teenagers: Do you find teenagers especially hard to buy for? Don’t despair. Try: iTunes gift cards, scratch cards, bookplates, smart phone covers, Pizza Express gift cards, Costa or Starbucks gift cards, chocolate, Joe & Seph’s small popcorn bags, nail polish in bauble-shaped packaging, Santa-suited rubber duck.

For Children: Little ones are so easy to please at Christmas and there is seemingly no shortage of choice. But we want to offer you a few novel ideas along with the more obvious. For starters, include note-cards in each stocking offering the priceless gift of time! Write something like this on the cards: “Stay up 30 minutes extra before bedtime” or “One late-night pass to stay up and watch the match”. You could make it a Monopoly-style ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card with words like: “Get out of cleaning your room for a week”. It is then up to the children when they produce the cards to their best advantage. This could work both ways if you encourage your children to write IOU gift cards to you on which they spell out their intentions, like: “IOU one free car wash” for Dad or “IOU breakfast in bed” for Mum.

Children’s Stocking Fillers We Love

The gifts mentioned are available from the likes of John Lewis, Selfridges, Hamleys, Waterstones, Amazon and direct from the manufacturers online. Simply put the item you wish to explore in your chosen search engine. Please note that prices may vary.

Under £5

Sugar Mice; Finger puppets; Star Wars Top Trumps; Hope and Greenwood Sweets; Olde Fashioned Lucky BagsSticker Sets; Scented Erasers; Thorntons chocolate figures; Lollipops.

Under £10

Ridley’s ‘The Balancing Chair Game’; Unicorn Snot Glitter Gel; Mini Flower Press by House of Marbles; Sound Machine; Balloon Animals and Pump; Star Wars figures; Playmobil figures; Hello Kitty Purse; Finger Printing ArtBelle & Boo Enamel Mug; Egg & Spoon Set; Flash Harry Torch.

Under £20

Ridley’s ‘Unicorn Balloon Modeling Kit’; Sylvanian Families Hedgehog Family; Seedling Pick N Mix Jewellery Kit; Playmobil Figures and Vehicles; Motorised Paper Planes; Secret Agent Alarm Clock; Remote Control Cars; Super Wings Transforming Dizzy or Jett.

Adult Stocking Fillers We Love

The gifts mentioned are available from the likes of John Lewis, Selfridges, Harvey Stocking basicNichols; Waterstones, Marks & Spencer; Amazon, Not on the High Street and online from some of the companies named. Simply put the item you wish to explore in your chosen search engine. We have tried to offer you ideas for around £20 or under.

“Sound Machine” – several buttons to press, various funny noises to make, all in a pocket-size contraption.

Unicorn Snot Glitter Gel – Great for those dressing up days. Available in a variety of colours. Check out Liberty London and among others.

NPW Predict a Pen – it asks “Dare You Live by the Pen?”

Lily Flame Mini Tinned Candles – festive fragrances aplenty.

Bookplates – various designs all with one aim: to indicate ownership. Also known as ex-librīs, these small printed or decorative labels pasted into books can be found at Waterstones, as well as other stockists online.

“Forever” book by Emma Dodd – intended for tiny tots but perfect for parents…and so touching.

Old School Vintage Badges in Pink by Wild and Wolf Kits – choices include ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘Dancing Queen’.

Harvey Nichols Naughty Nibbles – enticing varieties available for those nuts on nuts.

Pictura Colouring Books – colouring in for the more mature with images of Paris, London, Faeries, Hedgerows and a Medieval Town.

“The Twelve Poems of Christmas” books by Carol Ann Duffy – volumes I to VIII. Also look for Duffy’s other festive poetry books (perfect sizes for stockings) such as “The Wren Boys”.

Cupcake Design Cake Tester – a prick test for baking.

Lick the Spoon Chilli Hot Chocolate Spoons in Dark Chocolate – melt into hot brews to make them hotter.

Chocolate & Love Chocolate Bars – delicious chocolate, beautiful packaging and a message to save the planet.

“The John Rutter Christmas Album” – Mr. Christmas delivers beautiful carols. He has several festive albums from which to choose and we believe every Christmas fan should have at least one.

Enid Blyton Comedy Books – like “Five Give Up The Booze”. If you liked the “Five Go Mad…” TV series, you’ll probably engage with this collection of amusing Blyton-esque takes on modern Stocking basicissues. There’s even one on Brexit.

Hookmarks – bookmarks with a twist. They come in sterling silver or brass and in a variety of designs: shipped direct from the USA or via Etsy.

Personalised After Dinner Fortunes Dinner Party Gift – by Bread & Jam and available through An example of the fortunes reads: “It’s a Magical World out there. Go Exploring.”

Vintage Champagne Spoon – to keep the fizz in your festive tipple. This will do just that when put inside the neck of an open bottle of bubbly. Can be personalised. Check out

Original Jollie Socks – socks in a recyclable tin can. Jollie Goods’ slogan is “Wear a pair, share a pair”. When you buy a Jollie Goods item like this it will help a homeless person in Britain to get back on their feet by giving them same.

Tablet Flexi Holder – an instant second screen when one is simply not enough to satisfy one’s multi-media cravings.

Porcelain Angel Tea Light – by Luna Lighting through Simple and beautiful.

General Stocking Filler Ideas

Books; bookmarks; bookplates; pens; notepads; diaries; music gift cards; playing cards; cufflinks; aftershave; perfume; cosmetics; nail polish; nail files; compacts; jewellery; perfumed soaps; shower gel; candles; candle snuffers; candlewick trimmers; scented tea-lights; tea-light holders; diffuser oil; wine bottle stoppers; wine pourers; alcohol miniatures; tea; coffee; cookie cutters; cake testers; pie birds; chocolates; sweets; candy canes; mini mint tins; mini mince pies; scratch cards; lottery tickets; tree ornaments; socks; coasters; craft kits; gardening gloves; picture frames; magazine subscriptions; business card holders; purses; wallets; key rings.

Elf Helper: When you buy beauty products, perfume and aftershave through the year you will almost always be given free samples. Keep them tucked away in a box or bag and use them a stocking fillers come December.