I adore Christmas. I really, really love it. I event wanted to give my daughter 'Christmas' as a middle name, but my husband vetoed it (much to the relief of pretty much everyone I know).
Growing up, Christmas was a big deal in my house and we had a heap of little family traditions. One of my favourites was digging out our Christmas stockings on Christmas eve and leaving them out for Santa.
My childhood Christmas stocking was beautiful. Mum made it by hand and it's gorgeous. I have brothers either side of me, both very close in age, and we each had our names appliqued onto our stockings and I thought it was just wonderful.
When we were a little older, my little sister was born. I always felt very sad that she didn't have a Christmas stocking made by mum (mum had enough to keep her busy with 4 kids under 6). She did get her own special stocking from I think Disneyland of all places, but I always felt a little sad for her on Christmas eve. I don't think she ever cared, especially as her stocking was bigger than ours.
When I had my first baby in 2008, I remember being very excited about being able to make her a stocking and starting our own little family tradition. Back then I had never used a machine, so decided to make her a stocking by hand. I ended up spending close to $100 at the fabric shop - I bought enough fabric to make a stocking for my little girl and 3 potential siblings!
I stayed up late each night for a month, hand embroidering the baubles and stiching silver ribbon down the stocking. I loved being able to use it for her first Christmas.
My son was born last year, in 2009, and to my disappointment I did not get the chance to make him a stocking before his first Christmas, due to him being a refluxy baby who needed to be held for every.single.sleep until he was 4 months old.
This Christmas I have a 1yo and a 2yo and they now each have their own, personalised Christmas stocking. Now that I can sew (hurrah!) I made my son's on the machine, and it's all machine embroidered. Much faster!
Hopefully, in 2011/2012 I'll have another little elf to make a stocking for. I'm already planning what it will look like (little gingerbread men, perhaps?)
The finished stockings. The one on the left is made my hand (inc applique) and the one on the right is done by machine. Both are fully lined.
Their names are blanket-stitched using silver thread. I traced the font directly from my computer screen onto vliesofix. The font is Cooper Black.
My daughter's stocking is decorated with Christmas baubles. I used Donna Hay cookie cutters to get the shapes. The neck of each bauble is appliqued with thick silver ribbon, and each is 'hung' using narrow silver ribbon. The cutters are no longer available but you can get a similar set here.
My son's is decorated using different sized snowflakes, some stitched in silver, others in red and white. Even though they were machine appliqued it took a long time. A definite labour of love!