Cozy mitten stockings are just as handy for holding goodies as socks are. Tie a knit pair to a child's bedpost for Santa to fill with small presents; the contents will keep early risers occupied until the rest of the family finally awakens.
Invite little ones to count down to Christmas with this charming treat-a-day calendar. A collection of stray socks or a mix of new ones in festive colors looks adorable dangling from a ribbon along a mantle or railing. Stuff each mini stocking with an age-appropriate toy. Then, starting on December 1, take down one sock a day, and let your child pull out the surprise inside (clip socks back onto the ribbon after gifts have been removed). The 24 days before Christmas are sure to sail by.
This homespun stocking is a wonderful way to mark a child's first Christmas -- as well as his second, third, and fourth. Every year, add a new felt shape representing some favorite memory or object that your little one loves. Only the stocking requires sewing; the designs are glued on, for easy updating.
Fashion odd socks into a stocking that grows with your child. Each year, a new sock is sewn onto the top: Cut cuff off stocking's topmost sock, and cut foot off sock you're adding; discard. Turn remaining pieces inside out; sew together, right sides facing. Sew on loop for hanging.
Christmas stockings are often filled with lots of trinkets, but rarely does a stocking center around a particular idea or a person's specific interests. Try filling this season's stockings with gifts that touch on a theme, such as cooking, golf, reading, or music. Or use this opportunity to introduce someone to a new hobby by giving them all the basic tools they need to begin.
For more than a century, family outings to see "The Nutcracker" have prompted kids' dreams of becoming graceful ballet dancers or brave heroes leading troops of toys. If your children get swept up in the ballet, encourage their interest by giving them "Nutcracker"-themed stockings or by filling their stockings with "Nutcracker"-themed toys.
Santa's sleigh needs to make only one stop to fill a stocking with great loot, and it's not the elves' workshop or even the toy store. A whole sock's worth of goodies awaits in an unexpected place; the crafts store, hardware store, or costume or party-supply shop. Ordinary objects -- pom-poms, electrical tape, plastic baubles -- find glorious uses in kids' hands. Best of all, they're inexpensive, so it costs hardly anything to stuff a stocking all the way to the brim.