Our families traditional stockings are incredibly ugly.
I’m guessing that the pattern was in a woman’s magazine somewhere during the ’40s because the first one was knit for by brother by my maternal grandmother when he was born in 1950. Sadly, Grandmother then knit me one in 1952 when I was born and we were stuck with the tradition forever. Dad and Mother had them (and I assume so did she and Unc, who still lived with her at that point). Each has the name of the child and the year they were born in the top panel.
I can’t remember every appreciating them in any esthetic sense. I was so jealous of people who got new pretty ones each year. (Now, of course, an ongoing tradition has its own power.)
When I married Ælfwine, Mother made him one, then one for Diana when she was born. I had been SO waiting for them to wear out. I even threw mine away one year when moths got to it- but no, there was an outburst of indignation, and I had to knit a replacement for myself (without the consolation that I was using the stocking my grandmother had made me so lovingly over 5 decades ago.
Of course- because the yarn available was different, all our stockings have slightly different colors of red and green, and are different sizes.
Time passes, and insanity (excuse me, I mean tradition) continues. I have no grandchildren yet, but I have knit small versions of the family stockings for the American girl dolls, and am working on one for Xander.
My youngest sister actually made herself a pair of that design to wear
Our family tradition was that the stockings- and any big, unwrapped presents left by Santa, were all that was opened before breakfast. The unwrapping is after breakfast (and chores around here.) When I was a kid you had to wait for everyone- my brother would then go down and plug in the tree, and we could all go down and see what Santa had left. For us, you can get up whenever you wake up, and you are allowed to get into your own stocking at your own rate.
Still, what’s in it is not very exciting. An orange (or pomegranite- an innovation by me), a candy cane, some nuts (probably because of the “King John was not a Good Man” poem), any small inexpensive gift we’ve found. I’ve tried to find toys to stick out the top. Kat’s gotten beanie baby cats for some years now. She has quite the collection.
One of the saddest stories I ever saw is associated with stocking gifts. When I headed off to college, I figured it was time for me to pick a “signature scent” and went through the dozens of accumulated perfumes on Mother’s dresser, and chose Woodhue by Faberge. Mother was amused because that had been her scent in college too, and she gave it to me. Well, apparently Dad had been subconsciously reminded of their college days together, by smelling it on me, and decided to get her the perfume he was remembering. He went into the perfume counter at Filenes (which is farging huge!) and smelled hundreds of different perfumes until he found the one he remembered. Can you imagine what a job that must have been? It was the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard of. The sad part was after he’d got this romantic gift, and snuck it into her stocking, when she found it, she said “Oh, this must have been a meant for you” and tossed it over to me. (and he didn’t mention it to her until later)
This year we won’t have the chocolate coins in the stockings that were tradition. I found out they were hannuka gelt sometime after I started buying them for my kids stockings, but they are generally such cheap chocolate no one but a little kid will eat them. I’ll still miss it because “it’s tradition”.