Stocking Stuffers

‘And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there’

No one can deny the warmth and love that radiates from homes during Christmas season. Enter most living rooms and you’ll be greeted with a familiar sight:

The sparkling lights of a Christmas tree, a crackling fire, and stockings hung with care above the mantle place.

As the tale goes, the tradition of hanging stockings began with St Nicholas leaving gold coins to help out an old man and his three daughters. Wishing to remain anonymous, he threw the coins into their chimney and they landed in the stockings the girls had placed by the fireplace to dry. A thousand years later, stockings have become a permanent fixture when it comes to Christmas celebrations.

Today, customized stockings are made for Christmas because the bigger the stocking, the more goodies inside. This was taken one step further when Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Seziona, a volunteer emergencies organization in Carrara, Italy, produced the largest Christmas stocking ever, measuring in at a 168 feet and 5.65 inches. By doing this they etched their names into the Guinness Book of World Records. Keeping up with the Christmas tradition of charity and good will, the stocking was made to help raise money for the senior citizens of the city.

FYI -If you’re trying to calculate how big this stocking was, here’s a little something to help you out: The world’s tallest water slide, Verrückt (which means ‘insane’ by the way) in Kansas, measures in at a whopping 168 ft and 7 in. That’s around 17 stories high. The stocking was shy by only one quarter of an inch.

Today, you could either go for the traditional red socks with a white border. Or you could personalize it by adding a name and a funny message – Santa I can Explain. Regardless of their appearance, like all good things, what matters most is what’s inside.

Aside from the traditional pieces of chocolate and candies, here are a couple of creative gift ideas for stocking stuffers that’ll get the appropriate ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from your family members. We all know even Santa has to step up his game every once in a while.

For the Husband and Wife – If you’re looking to dazzle your better half, then mediocrity won’t cut it. Here are a couple of gifts your husband would appreciate:

A Balsawood airplane model if flying is one of his hobbies. Or something as simple and useful as a tire pressure gauge.

And for your wife you can’t go wrong with a nice scarf or a pair of branded sunglasses.

For Mom and Dad – Parents are quite possibly the only human beings who’ll always love you no matter what. For their unconditional love, go out of your way to get something nice for them.

For your mom, scented candles, aromatherapy essential oils, or bath salts are good options. After all, she deserves a break from all the Christmas preparations.

For your dad, old and classic would be the way to go. For example, a mini bottle of his favorite booze (a Vat 69 perhaps?) Or a bottle of the classic Old Spice cologne – your mom would definitely appreciate this one.

For your Girlfriend or Boyfriend Love: So full of giddy feelings, rainbows, and butterflies. If that description doesn’t describe your current relationship, put a little extra thought into your gifts this holiday season! For your special lady, consider getting her gift cards to that one shop she always drags you to and won’t even think of leaving (just five more minutes, promise!). You could also get her some make-up.

For your boyfriend, an engraved wallet, headphones, or a belt are all good options.

For Brothers and Sisters – What do you get for that annoying sibling who made your life hell when growing up? Two words – Gag Gifts.

For that annoying brother who borrowed your cd’s and never gave them back, you could get a lump of coal. Yes, go out to the pantry, open that bag of bbq coal, take out a piece and put it in the stocking with his name on it. However, most often he has also been your partner in crime. Swiss army knives or a nice watch are some gift ideas you may want to look into.

Sisters can swing both ways too. Either she made you watch way too many chick flicks with her or she insisted on giving you a makeover. She was also always there for you and made you smile when things got hard. Get her some scrapbooking supplies and relive all the good (and the not so great) times together. You could also get her a nice pair of earrings.

For your Son and Daughter – The light of your lives, the apple of your eyes; you always want to give them the best.

Depending on his age, you could get your son a number of gifts including action figures, collectable cards, Lego, or play-doh.

For your little princess, gift ideas include stickers, art supplies, or hair accessories. If she’s a little older, consider getting her an iTunes gift card, tickets to a concert, or nail polishes.

When it comes to stocking stuffers, there are a plethora of options for you to choose from. In addition to the gifts under the tree, it’s always nice to go through the loot hidden inside that cozy sock. You may be pleasantly surprised with pieces of your favorite chocolate and candy. So use the element of surprise and put a little extra thought into what you stuff your stockings with this year. Your family will love it!

Before wrapping up, want to know what the good people at Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Seziona in Carrara filled that Christmas stocking with? Any guesses? To qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, the stocking had to be filled with presents. The volunteers filled the stocking with balloons containing sweets and chocolates. A little conventional may be, but sweets and chocolates never disappoint especially during Christmas time.