Style by Season

Christmas Stockings Around the World

Families celebrate the season with their own holiday traditions. A popular one is hanging Christmas stockings for gifts. It’s believed that the custom began from the story of St. Nicholas, who was the inspiration for Santa Claus. Since then, different countries have adopted their own versions of this gift-giving tradition.

Find out how people from around the globe receive gifts:

Christmas stockings traditions

North America

Canada: “Moisturizers are good stocking stuffers because the cold air in Canada is very drying.”

United States: “On Christmas Day, we give our fur babies their stockings first to keep them busy while we spend quality time with our human family.”

South America

Ecuador: “We give gifts in paper bags and keep them hidden until midnight on Christmas Eve. That’s when we have dinner and exchange gifts.”

Venezuela: “We place presents in front of the manger or pesebre where Jesus was born.”


England: “We open our stockings first thing on Christmas Day. It’s more exciting than the main presents. We don’t receive our bigger presents until after the Queen’s speech.”

Finland: “In our house, we use a Santa hat as a stocking.”

Greece: “Santa comes on New Year’s Eve. We traditionally didn’t have Christmas stockings, the concept came from abroad and we embraced it.”

Latvia: “In my family, gifts come in a handmade wooden box. Relatives often leave notes with wishes inside.”

Portugal: “We do not have stockings on Christmas, only wrapped presents under the tree. But when our daughter was born, we adopted this tradition.”

Romania: “We leave the children’s shoes near the main entrance of the house, for Moș Nicolae to put gifts in.”

Russia: “Ded Moroz and his granddaughter Snegurochka put presents under the tree on Christmas and New Year eves. We open presents on January 1st and 7th.”

Serbia: “We place the stockings under the badnjak, an oak tree branch or young tree placed on the fire on Christmas Eve. We open gifts after breaking Christmas bread.”

Sweden: “Our stocking is a gunny sack. I want my kids to have magical memories as I did in my childhood.”

Ukraine: “In Ukraine, Saint Nicholas puts presents under the pillows.”


Hong Kong: “It’s not a Chinese tradition but we exchange stockings because my husband is from the UK.”

India: “We use small baskets to put in sweets and fruit. They symbolize good times and good health.”

Japan: “We give gifts in a regular sock. It’s a foreign tradition in Japan, by my son is also Mexican so we celebrate Christmas.”

Pakistan: “The main gifts are always sweets and fruits.”


New Zealand: “My neighbor leaves a tin on my doorstep on Christmas morning, and I do the same for her.”


Kenya: “My stocking is a recyclable bag. When one visits a family, it’s a tradition for visitors to bring a gift on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.”

These different ways of sharing gifts add joy and meaning to the holidays. Do you put up Christmas stockings at home? Share your own traditions in the comments below.

For more holiday decoration ideas, visit our buyer’s guide. Browse personalized Christmas stockings and more at Balsam Hill.

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