Exploring the Artifacts: Stockings

Stocking display at the Museum in 2020

Stocking display at the Museum in 2020

These are stockings. Stockings like these were worn instead of short socks. In the winter, they could get wet and cold, and have to be hung by the fire to dry.

The idea of placing gifts in stockings comes from stories about St. Nicholas placing gifts in stockings. St. Nicholas is thought to have lived in the 300s.

In 1883, the New York Times had an article suggesting stockings were being used less, as Christmas trees began to be used more. Stockings weren’t always the right size for gifts.

Eventually, Christmas stockings as we know them developed. Nowadays, most stockings are bought at stores, and only slightly look like socks.