The origin of the Christmas stocking dates all the way back to the days of St. Nicholas (270-340 AD). According to the story, St Nick would leave gifts for good children in the form on money, fruit, and toys. Bad children, on the other hand, got fossil fuels. Not very zero waste. For some reason, he put these item in damp stockings hung by the fire.
I like to illustrate the history of our traditions so we can sort of see how silly they can be. When I read the story of St. Nick, he uh… comes off a little creepy in my opinion. He also apparently resurrected 3 dismembered children who were pickled in a bucket.
Now that’s a Christmas story.
Today, the concept of stocking stuffers is usually just a chance to shove last minute impulse buys into a store-bought decorative sock. These store bought stockings are usually cheaply made and often get replaced from year to year without much thought.
Hand made stockings, however, are usually cared for, and can last a lifetime. I still have mine from when I was a child, over thirty years ago!
Photo Source: https://www.homedit.com/
If you’re not exactly a seamstress, which I am not, there are some easy ways to make *beautiful* stockings out of materials you already have, like that warm sweater you loved, but can’t donate, because there’s a big hole in the arm pit, or hot cocoa stain on the sleeve. Why not turn that beloved item, or other reused fabric, into a cherished Christmas stocking? You can even have it embroidered when you’re done to make it a personal gift the be cherished for a lifetime.
DIY Christmas Stocking from Sweaters
Easy Christmas Stocking Tutorial
But without further ado…
When your considering WHAT to stuff your stocking with, consider small, but thoughtful items that don’t create waste.
1.) Second hand items, there are some pretty awesome items out there. I got my dad an antique bronze Octopus wall decoration while visiting a BFF in upstate Washington. See? That gift even has a little story behind it. …Hopefully my dad doesn’t read this post before Christmas.
2.) Hand made natural jewelry. Try art fests or Etsy — there are a lot of stores on Etsy that are happy to ship in recycled and compostable packaging. Ever see raw gems? They are gorgeous and Wabi-sabi.
3.) Soap and Soy candles. The most popular Christmas gift in the Victoria era was apparently soap. Perhaps it was a subtle hint to a loved one. Or perhaps people realized how wonderful a lovely-scented bar of soap is. Same with soy candles! See what you can buy locally.
4.) Baked goods. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Home baked good > all store bought presents. Hands down. Fruit works too, but usually doesn’t go over as well with the little ones. Let’s be honest.
6.) Take someone on an adventure, to a museum, or treat them to a unique experience. Reuse the front of a card, or design your own note describing the plans. Or give them subtle hints to figure it out themselves!
7.) Don’t forget about bamboo toothbrushes and silk floss to clean those teeth after eating all those holiday sweets!!!
8.) Is something someone loves broken? Like a wrist watch? Why not pay to have that fixed and surprise them with it on Christmas day.
9.) Can you knit? I can’t. But my soon to be sister-in-law can, and her gifts are the best. She knits head bands with elaborate bows, scarves, and mittens that genuinely make amazing presents, and are small enough to fit in stockings. If you can’t knit, considering purchasing these items from a local artist to support your community and minimize the waste that results from fast fashion.
10.) Last but not least, Zero Waste Gifts!!! Prevent single-use abuse and buy someone you love a reusable water bottle, coffee thermos, cotton tote bags, reusable straws, cutlery, and or bees wax wrap! These all can easily fit in a stocking!
Seal, Jeremy (2005), Nicholas: The Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, New York City, New York and London, England: Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-58234-419-5