Knit Christmas Stockings A Tradition To Be Treasured

Knit Christmas Stockings--a Tradition To Be Treasured

By: - Crafts - July 6, 2011
knit christmas stockings a tradition to be treasured

The stockings were hung on the chimney with care.   Famous words from the well known poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’  written by Dr. Clement Clarke Moore in 1823.  The vision of knit Christmas stockings  stems from the old world practice of people hanging their knit stockings on the chimney mantle to dry overnight while they slept.

That particular image of Knit Xmas stockings  brings to mind the thought that people must not have had many stockings back then─ perhaps not many changes of clothing.  Yarn and cotton were far more difficult to manufacture 100’s of years ago.

However, knitting clothes, whether knit Christmas stockings or knit jackets is a practice as old as time. While people once depended upon knit yarn or cotton spun from a loom for their clothing, today knit xmas stockings are more an ornament than anything else.

The tradition of hanging knit Christmas stockings from a mantle at Christmas also stems from stories of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus.  St. Nicholas was a Catholic Bishop who lived in the 4th century; Santa Claus has become an American version of his name.    It is said that St. Nicholas was such a kind man that he gave resplendent gifts to friends and strangers. Once he even gave a full dowry to a poor man’s daughter.  It is said the children of that time─ and for centuries since─ hung their stockings on the mantle in hopes St. Nicholas would visit during the night and leave them filled with sweet treats.  The association with Christmas came after the Catholic Church declared Dec. 25 to be the yearly holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.   St. Nicholas’s feast day is Dec. 6 and for many years the two dates were synonymous.  Many people still  hang knit Xmas stockings  on their mantles as early as Dec. 6 to commerate the memory of St. Nicholas, his generosity and his faith.

Once knitting items of clothing, rugs or covers was a necessity and  obtaining the yarn to knit was far more complicated than the knitting itself.  Sheep had to be sheered and the wool taken from them cleaned and spun into yarn before one could ever begin to knit.  Today, yarns of all kinds─ from  sheep’s wool to alpaca wool to synthetic yarns─ are found in a variety of stores along with a huge selection of knitting needle types, patterns and books to teach a person how to knit.  Knitting in itself remains a favorite past time and handmade gift source for many.

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