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Let’s face it, 2021 is going to be remembered as another momentous year. Whether we’re allowed to celebrate this Christmas with our nearest and dearest or not, we’re sure to feel a sense of deep nostalgia for the simple certainties of holidays spent with loved ones – coupled with the familiar “what did I forget?” Christmas-time panic that comes as standard, of course.
Whatever happens, though, there’s no doubt that we’ll be able to create our own cinnamon-scented domestic idyll, and when it comes to Christmas imagery, there’s nothing more festive than a stocking on the mantelpiece.
But with so many available to choose from, which is best? The vast array of commercially-available stockings is mind-boggling, and that’s before you get into the make-your-own glitter-encrusted customised sock made by sticky little hands prior to Christmas Eve.
The current fashion is for personalised stockings bearing the name of each family member so we've included a number of options in our ‘best of’ list below that allow for personalisation.
Here are the best Christmas stockings for 2021.
1. Best overall Christmas stocking: Oladwolf Christmas Stocking
Price: £9.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“When I was growing up, stockings were the main event and were the most anticipated part of Christmas rather than just a time-filler.”
Bought as a two-pack, these appliqué designs with a handcrafted feel should be just the ticket for parents looking to buy for two children – or for a friend with particularly giant feet who doesn’t mind mismatched socks.
They are average size at 38cm high with a 19cm opening – perfect for stocking-filler toys, gifts, sweets (such as candy canes) and the traditional satsuma. But they are too small for larger presents.
Hypo-allergenic, this pair come in a snowman or Father Christmas design and look great as free-standing decorations or as hanging socks. Even those who had hoped for slightly bigger dimensions confirm that these are excellent stockings: attractive, suitably festive and great value for money, weighing in at less than £5 per child.
- Sold as a pair of stockings for additional value for money and convenience
- Very festive appearance, safe and non-combustible
- Works equally well as a decoration or hanging sock
Great budget option and sold in a pair.
2. Best budget Christmas stocking: WeRChristmas Red and White Christmas Stocking with 3D Snowman
Price: £6.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“WeRChristmas are particularly bargainous for all things Christmas.”
There’s a lot to like about this oversized 3D jolly snowman, set proud upon a red and white checked stocking. It's a classic solution but the details are nicely realised, from his carrot nose and bead eyes to his rosy cheeks and holly-trimmed top hat.
A sturdy hanging loop is a thoughtful touch – why this doesn’t come as standard on all Christmas stockings is something we still haven't found the answer to – and it means your snowman can make his home on a bedpost or mantelpiece. At 52cm, it isn't huge, but the size does mean that it won’t overwhelm babies or very young children.
What’s most eye-catching is the price. At £6.99, this stocking won’t break the bank, and it's a good option for those who like their stocking stuffed with pocket-money toys and, of course, the mandatory citrus fruit.
- Well-sized for babies and small children
- Pleasant jolly snowman with all the trimmings
- Superb value for money
On the small side, but this is an ideal starter stocking for babies at a budget price.
3. Best personalised Christmas stocking: Izabela Peters Personalised Christmas Stocking
Price: £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“We all have slightly different personalised fabric ones.”
This is a lovely Nordic-style Christmas stocking modern twist, topped off with your child’s name embroidered on a name badge. Available in six different colours, delighted owners comment that this is a quality product at a good value price.
- Can be personalised with your child’s name
- Hard-wearing with a heavy lining
- Attractive Nordic style
A great combination of upmarket appearance and personalisation .
4. Best knitted Christmas stocking: Pachamama Christmas Stocking
Price: £19.95 | Buy now from Etsy
“It's one of my favourite memories feeling the weight of the stocking and reaching down to feel the odd shapes of the presents under knitted fabric.”
This charming, Fair Trade festive sock with a reinforced heel and toe is both a thing of beauty and a product that supports Net4Kids, a charity that funds education and opportunities for children from underprivileged backgrounds.
Handmade in soft wool to a traditional Nordic pattern, this stylish stocking is made by Pachamama, a company with a strong reputation for supporting ethical living. At 55cm (diagonal cuff to toes) this is a fairly average-sized stocking with an extremely winning appearance and decent capacity.
It's a nice conversation piece too for parents keen to pass on a wider message about charity at a time of year when inequality appears in its starkest form.
- Great charitable cause
- Lovely hand knit with reinforced toe and heel
- Fair Trade product
A lovely hand-knitted, Fair Trade stocking that funds a very good cause.
5. Best for babies and young children: WeRChristmas Multi-Coloured Christmas Stocking With 3D Snowman
Price: £5.99 | Buy now from Amazon
“I've used WeRChristmas and what I've had has been great.”
This large felt 3D snowman with a jaunty hat and scarf is big enough to hold a variety of cute toys, which means that you can establish traditions early on with a product that can grow with your kids every Christmas.
The large, tactile snowman is both soft and colourful. It's a friendly presence for babies but with its contents concealed from grasping hands. Those who have bought this stocking praise it for being a good-looking and well-made product. Plus, at under a tenner, they confirm it as being excellent value for money too.
- Pleasant appearance
- Soft to the touch – ideal for babies
A soft-touch snowman stocking that will grow with your family year after year.
6. Best for families: Hoolaroo Personalised Fair Isle Knit Christmas Stocking
Price: £12.95 | Buy now from Amazon
“It's surprisingly difficult to find good quality stockings with the plain classic design."
This is a traditional festive stocking with a Nordic design. Owners claim that this a lovely personalised product with a quick, efficient turnaround on delivery.
Those buying these stockings for multiple children report the same consistently high quality of production for what is a customised stocking. Its size, capacity and bright festive appearance (with a name printed on the cuff) makes it ideal for a present for a few kids in a family at the same time.
- Fast, efficient turnaround of personalisation
- Nice size for a toddler
- Popular well-constructed option for all family members
Company has an excellent reputation for production and service. A good personalised stocking that appeals right across the board.
7. Best luxury stocking: Dibor Large Grey Faux Fur Stocking
Price: £14.95 | Buy now from Amazon
Definitely one for the mums and dads, the sumptuous faux fur means that this is also a stroke-able, washable stocking with built-in baby and toddler appeal.
If you're looking for an excuse to treat yourself to a swanky stocking under the guise of getting something the kids will love, then this is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. This a medium-sized stocking (51 × 20cm) with a luxurious pile and a luxury appearance in washable polyester ‘fur.’ After the year we’ve had, something cosy, nostalgic and coffee-coloured is exactly what should be top of everyone’s Christmas wishlist.
- Washable, easy care faux fur
- Cosy and nostalgic Christmas product
An upmarket stocking that has universal appeal because of its tactile qualities and pleasant, luxury appearance.
8. Best for large stocking fillers: The Seasonal Aisle Delivered By Reindeer Christmas Gift Sack Stocking
Price: £20.99 | Buy now from Wayfair
“I like sacks, but think they are only good for young children who receive large presents. As my oldest is almost 12, her presents are an awful lot smaller than those of the youngest who's three even though they are of the same value.”
For those with larger needs (or kids who like to dive headfirst into their parcels), this Christmas gift sack is a great alternative to the classic festive stocking. And what's more magical than a Santa sack personally delivered from the great man himself?
These hard-wearing jute sacks are 73cm high and 48cm wide, the ideal dimensions for containing those odd-shaped presents that won’t easily fit into a typical Christmas stocking.
- Great alternative to a traditional stocking
- Massive volume
- Perfect for those difficult-to-wrap presents
This modern take on the traditional stocking is a great easy-store alternative that feeds right into your personal Santa story. These hard-wearing jute sacks are a natural product too.
9. Best stocking alternative: Personalised Christmas Hessian Sack - North Pole Express
Price: £12.99 | Buy now from Amazon
"We just use a sack here. My sister started doing stockings, but now regrets it! Hard to find decent small presents to go in them.”
Hessian sacks appear to be all the rage this Christmas as an alternative to heavy velvet fabric bags and this one is one of the best we’ve seen – and it's currently on sale!
You can personalise it with your own Christmas message, nicely printed in bold black and red eco ink and, at 80 × 50cm, it's big enough and broad enough to bag some serious festive loot.
Don’t forget – if you do opt for a hard-wearing mail sack, they fold flat for the rest of the year. Some clever parents even use them to store squashy decorations all together until the next time they’re needed.
- Can be personalised with a child’s name
- Natural hessian mail sack
- Easily stored away
Great alternative to a traditional stocking especially for homes that are tight on storage space.
Why do we hang stockings at Christmas?
The adoption of stockings as a Christmas tradition appears to pre-date the early 1800s where European children put out their shoes or socks in anticipation of St Nicholas’ visit.
Woven, blanket-stitched or knitted, the Christmas stocking is now a potent symbol of gift-giving and receiving.
What to look out for when choosing a Christmas stocking
Hint: it’s not about how big your feet are but size, as ever, is important. Some reviewers have ended up disappointed because their stockings turned out to be small enough to suit an elf. It’s standard advice, but please check dimensions before you buy.
Are you looking for a product to contain a mass of presents for is your stocking basically decorative? Is it a centrepiece for dinky little toys or for sweets and keepsakes?
The traditional festive stockings feature snowmen, Santa and reindeer decked out in red, green and white. Classic Christmas colours will never go out of style, but it's easy to go overboard once the tree is up and the house is rammed with tinsel, decorations and a tree.
So, if you want a low-key Christmas then consider some of the minimalist stockings on offer or even a personal printed mail sack as an extremely functional alternative.
What do you put in a Christmas stocking?
When it comes to what to put in your Christmas stocking, most agree that a satsuma or a small orange is their number one tradition, with a pound coin, a handful of favourite treats (such as sweets or chocolate) and a wind-up toy coming close second.
Bubbles, puzzles, comics and colouring sets are also popular additions for children's stocking and can be a great distraction during the festive season.
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