In my younger days, I was a huge crafter and maker. It was common for me to cross-stitch or sew gifts from bookmarks and Christmas decorations to cushions and quilts as heart-felt gifts for family and friends. Later, I sewed clothing and toys for my children. I would spend hours in front of the TV, on trains and even planes (way back when you were allowed to carry needles and scissors on board) sewing my latest gift item with love and care. These days, I rarely craft but still love it when I do. Crafting and DIY is a true labour of love. Each piece or project takes hours and endless patience to create and should be treasured.
My Christmas tree was once covered with handmade baubles, felt nativity figures and cross-stitched ornaments. Over the years, some broke and others were given away, thrown out as they faded, got dirty, or simply got lost. The remaining few no longer grace my Christmas Tree, as they don’t fit the current colour palette but I can’t bear to throw them out. I fondly hold and look at them each year before carefully placing them back into storage.
My favourite Christmas Craft Project was begun about twenty years ago and completed a couple of years later. Our daughter was our only child. Whilst browsing in a craft store with a friend, I found felt applique Christmas stocking kits in various designs, reduced to almost fit my budget. I fell in love and decided to purchase one for each family member – one for my husband with Santa playing golf, one for myself with Santa on the beach, one for my daughter with Santa, sack bulging with toys, about to come down the chimney and another matching one for our hoped-for second child. Over a considerable period of time, I painstakingly hand-stitched sequins and completed each component of every individual stocking, creating beautifully detailed 3D felt appliqued designs. Names were sewn onto each stocking, ready for display and use. From memory, the first year just Madeleine had a stocking. The next year, all three of us had one and a fourth, spare stocking remained in storage, awaiting a name, as I was expecting our son. On the third Christmas, Jake’s name was added to the final stocking, and our family was now complete.
These special stockings are taken out every year and displayed. They have sat on the floor by the Christmas Tree, hung in the entrance of our last home and now hang along the staircase in our current home. We’ve never had a mantlepiece to hang them from but always find somewhere to display them. They still look beautiful and receive many compliments from those who see them. Every Christmas Eve a few little treats are slipped into each stocking. These are the first gifts opened on Christmas morning.
These felt appliqued Christmas stockings have become a tradition for our family and even on years we haven’t had a tree, we’ve always had the stockings – every stitch done by hand, filled with love and still going strong two decades on. I look forward to another two decades of family Christmases and having to find new stocking kits or patterns for additional family members.
PS. A quick search revealed some of these designs and many similar ones are still available. They appear to be Bucilla brand if you’d like to start your own special stocking tradition.