For more than two millennia, people around the globe have been celebrating Christmas—observing long-time religious and secular traditions, as well as adding their own unique practices. The Christmas stocking tradition, which took root in the early centuries A.D, is perhaps one of the most beloved traditions—and one that is certainly near and dear to our hearts here at Merry Stockings.
In the spirit of honoring and making our own traditions, our “Christmas Stocking Stories” series aims to highlight Christmas stocking traditions that are touching, unique, and perhaps even a little bizarre. Enjoy.
The Story of Lorraine Kelly’s Christmas Stocking “Wall”
More than 50 years ago, Arlington Heights, IL resident Lorraine Kelly was expecting her 11th child. But after developing a blood clot early in her pregnancy, she was reportedly prescribed complete bed rest—which would ultimately last more than two months.
But according to the Daily Herald, the newspaper covering Chicago and its suburbs where Lorraine lives, those months of bed rest would be the start of an incredible Christmas tradition.
At the suggestion of a friend, Lorraine began making Christmas stockings to pass the time as she waited for her new baby to arrive. She designed the pattern and eventually personalized them with the names of each of her 11 children. But according to the article, she didn’t stop at stocking No. 11.
As her children married—and as grandchildren and great grandchildren came—she kept going. It was almost a rite of passage and a way to make a person’s entry into the family official. And as Lorraine told the newspaper: “You had to be married to get on the wall. You couldn’t be a boyfriend.”
Soon the total swelled to 73 stockings. But once the grandchildren started marrying—Lorraine hung up her needle and thread—it had gotten to be too much, she told the paper.
But perhaps the most endearing part is “The Wall”—a Christmas stocking shrine inside Lorraine’s home that displays each of her lovingly handcrafted masterpieces.
(Photo Credit: Joe Lewnard, Staff Photographer at the Daily Herald)
According to the Daily Herald, The Wall serves as a centerpiece to the family’s annual Dec. 23 Christmas celebration at Lorraine’s home.
And guess what? All of her 11 children have reportedly created their own stocking wall inside their homes. And, as is tradition, each of the stockings has been made from the same pattern and same felt material to make them match Lorraine’s originals.
Thank you to the Daily Herald for brining this incredible story to light last year. You can read the full article here.
Create Your Own Personalized Christmas Stockings
You don’t have to be a skilled crafter or sewer to create your own special stocking. Bucilla Felt Christmas Stocking Kits give you everything you need. Below are some of our favorites:
Does your family have a special Christmas tradition? Share it with us in the comments section below.