Sunday, December 9

$5 Christmas Stocking Hack

Our mantle decor got a major upgrade this Christmas with a beautiful new set of stockings! (we also updated the actual mantle earlier this year when we wrapped it with wood and added shiplap) But this big upgrade didn't have a big price tag. Believe it or not, these beautiful, classic stockings started with a set of plain red Amazon stockings that were only $5 each. They just needed a little MLH farmhouse flair!

I like to think I know a thing or two about stockings. I've spent a good amount of time looking at them over the last ten years, because every. single. year. I search again for our perfect fit.

I've found plenty of beautiful stockings over the years, but all the ones I loved failed to fit one important requirement. Budget. As much as I dreamed of perfect stockings, I just didn't feel like I found the right ones for a price I was willing (or able) to pay. I began my stocking saga after baby #2 joined the family. Our budget was strapped pretty tight, so I made handmade stockings with leftover flannel (you can see how I made them here). They were totally free, but I didn't love the fabric (I wont' totally knock that idea, though. I seriously considered making a matching plaid set this year before I found these red ones, and I think that would feel wonderfully cozy!).

A couple years later when we needed to add a fifth stocking, I decided to scrap those guys and start fresh. But wouldn't you know it, I was pregnant and tired and just needed something before the baby got here... so I just got the best Hobby Lobby had to offer for $5 each (you can see them in this post). It did feel like an improvement, but it also felt like a wasted opportunity because deep down I knew I didn't love those moosey stockings. They weren't my style, and for the next couple Christmases I cringed with regret every time I pulled them out. But I couldn't justify replacing them - they were brand new!

Then, earlier this year, we added baby #4. Even last Christmas before he was born I knew - we would need a sixth stocking. I knew this was my chance to get a new set, and this time I was ready. This time I knew what I wanted, and this time I was ready to hunt. it. down.

So I started with a list of all the things I've learned about my ideal stockings:
  • red (my favorite Christmas color)
  • simple (to quote my sister, I "like plain")
  • classic (something that will stay in style, kind of fits the red and simple theme)
  • not too big (I don't want it to block the fireplace)
  • not too small (to fit gifts!)
I started hunting everywhere, and I found some that were beautiful and PERFECT - red linen with a cream cuff with red stripes. P.S. They were $30/stocking. And I needed six. Not so perfect after all. But it turns out those $30 stockings fanned the flame of my perfect stockings:  

"What if I got red stockings and added a cream ribbon?"

Within minutes I'd found plain, red burlap stockings on Amazon. $30 for a set of 6. And guess who just happened to need six stockings. (they also had just and canvas options on the same listing if you don't like the red!)

I can get behind that price, but they needed a little something... interesting. So I started hunting down a classic cream and red ribbon. I had the best luck on Etsy and ended up ordering this 1.5" cotton ribbon with red stripes. It was the perfect touch of character while keeping my simple style. This listing was for 3 yards and was just enough for my whole set of stockings (it was about $9 with shipping, or $1.50 per stocking).

I cut pieces of ribbon long enough to wrap around the stocking cuff and used a needle and thread to stitch along the top and bottom of the ribbon.

When I got to the raw end I tucked it under and stitched it down, too.

And seriously, that was it. Look what a difference that little bit of ribbon made:

They went straight from boring and bland to farmhouse-fantastic.

And for a finishing touch I added our wooden letter stocking tags (they are super easy, check out the tutorial to make your own!).

I switched out our stocking holders for a low-profile set a couple years ago (they were $5 for two after Christmas) because we had to move our nativity to the safety of higher ground after Joseph had a little accident, and regular stocking holders were blocking the view.  I also added a string of wooden beads this year.

But seriously, can you believe these were $5 stockings??

A quick disclaimer on the stockings, though: they are made of burlap and unlined. Those things were disclosed on Amazon and are fine with me, but I don't want you to be caught off-guard. Unlined means there are raw seams inside. They aren't visible at all from the outside, and don't bother me for something we get into one day a year. It also means they are a bit see through (which is totally the nature of burlap) but it's only really noticeable when the light hits them from behind:

The only thing I was a unhappy with was one stocking being cut a bit wonky. It's stocking #3 above. The toe is pointed and the cuff is a little short. But I didn't hate it enough to send it back, and now I love the set so much I don't even care anymore. Also, I think my ideal stocking would be a smidgen wider for bigger gifts, but these are really a decent size and I may just have unrealistic expectations for stocking gifts. I'll adjust, I promise.

With all that said, I want you to know what you're getting, and I would totally buy them again.

If you don't like burlap, you could also make your own solid red stockings pretty inexpensively - red linen would look so sharp! You could even use the same tutorial I used for my flannel stockings.

I think that's all I have to say about stockings. But I left the tripod out and our biggest boy used the opportunity to photograph his favorite ornaments. I love him so much.

You can find more Christmas goodness here:

What kind of stockings do you love?

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