Hung by the chimney (or elsewhere) with care, stockings can hold some wonderfully wrapped surprises for Christmas morning.
The history of the tradition of stuffing stockings is long and storied and remains popular today.
There are all kinds of gifts and trinkets that can be placed in stockings and many of them can be found right in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce offers Marietta Bucks in increments of $5, $10, $20 and $25. They can be redeemed at nearly 100 Marietta area businesses.
Stocking stuffers are very popular at the Heart to Art Galleria on Front Street in Marietta. The shop is managed by WASCO and most items made by area adults with disabilities.
"Some very popular items are holiday coasters," said Emily Maze-Rollison, a WASCO associate and manager at Heart to Art. "They're handmade by our folks here at Heart to Art."
There are also coffees and necklace pendants available for stocking stuffers, she said.
Local Stocking Stuffer Ideas
Chocolate from Putnam Chocolate.
Fenton glass figurines.
Small crafts from shops or the River City Farmers Market.
Pasta from Rossi Pasta.
Gift certificates for area businesses.
The history of stuffing stockings
There are multiple theories about the holiday tradition but two of the most popular ideas are the Dutch and nobleman theories.
The Dutch tradition claims that children used to leave snacks for Sinterclass (Santa Claus) and his steeds, which were sometimes regarded as donkeys and other times as reindeer.
The children would leave their wooden shoes full of straw for the animals. After the straw was eaten by the animals, Sinterclass would leave treats for the children inside their shoes. Eventually the shoes were replaced by stockings.
A second, more common history claims that a nobleman squandered away his wealth after his wife died. He and his three daughters, all of marriageable age, moved into a small cottage.
St. Nicholas of Myra, upon whom Santa Claus is based, walked through the village one day and overheard the nobleman's plight: his daughters were old enough to marry but he had no dowry to ensure a marriage.
The night St. Nicholas took it upon himself to scale the house the daughters had hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry. When St. Nicholas threw three bundles of coins down the chimney, they each landed in a stocking and each of the daughters had enough dowry to marry.
The coffee is sold in two-ounce bags or larger, but Maze-Rollison said the two-ounce packages are more fitting for stocking stuffers.
The coffee is Georgette's Fair Trade Coffee, based out of Maumee, and it helps provide a source of income for people with disabilities.
The necklace pendants are made of glass.
"They are dichroic glass pendants," Maze-Rollison said. "It's really bright glass. They take a flat piece of glass and take different colors of glass and layer it. A piece of glass is put over that and I fuse the glass together in a kiln."
For those looking for more homemade crafts, the River City Farmers Market might be a good option.
"We have a lot of vendors that have stocking stuffers," said Gary Smith, president of the market.
Smith said that there were all kinds of sauces including mustards and relishes and that one crafter crochets gloves and other items. There are also homemade soaps and candles.
"Everything (at the Farmers Market) has to be homemade...We just have everything down here," he said.
For the chocolate-inclined, Putnam Chocolate, at 288 Front St., offers a wide variety of chocolatey goodness.
Owner Shane Danford said all of the chocolate is popular at this time of year. He added that his carametzels are good as stocking stuffers.
"It's a pretzel (stick) dipped in caramel, dipped in chocolate," Danford said. "We also have seasonal candies: The Christmas Deluxe mix, Dutch mints and foiled chocolate Santas."
Danford said the small packages of Jelly Belly jelly beans have been really popular.
Shoppers can pick a quarter-pound, half-pound or one-pound boxes of chocolates. Danford said chocolate lovers could make their own box or pick up one that's already been packaged.
For those looking for unique pieces of art as stocking stuffers, the Fenton Gift Shop in Williamstown might just be the place to go; every artistic piece of glass is handmade and ready to slip inside of a stocking.
Not only are there figurines, there are glass beads.
"The beads seem to be going well," said Fenton Gift Shop Sales Associate Angie Matthey. "Ours are made right here."
Matthey said not only are the beads a hit because of their designs, some customers mentioned switching from buying a lot of Pandora beads to the handmade treasures.
She said new beads are being added to the collection all the time.
"Quarterly, we come out with a new selection," Matthey said, adding that some beads were retired to make room for the new ones.
Matthey said the figurines have often been picked up by grandparents.
"Those are small enough that people are using them as stocking stuffers," she said. "We've had some grandparents buying them for their grandchildren."
For those looking for a good deal on a unique glass gift, the Fenton Gift Shop is offering 60 percent off most items in the store up until Monday when the discount goes up to 70 percent.
For those still having trouble finding the perfect stocking stuffer for that certain someone, there is always the option of a gift card.
Marietta Bucks, which can be purchased at the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce at 100 Front St., are an option to encourage local shopping.
Charlotte Keim, president and CEO of the chamber, said Marietta Bucks can be bought in increments of $5, $10, $20 and $25, with a 2.5 percent processing fee.
"Anybody can buy them," Keim said, but added that they can't be redeemed just anywhere: only a business that is a member of the chamber can redeem them.
Keim said to have no fear; there are nearly 100 businesses that participate in and around Marietta, with a full list on the chamber of commerce website.
Keim added that the process of buying Marietta Bucks takes five to 10 minutes per card, mainly to ensure security of the Marietta Buck, so those looking to buy them should call ahead. She also said each person who buys a Marietta Bucks card would receive a list of participating businesses.
"We usually sell more than $200,000 a year," Keim said, adding that it looked like it might be around $220,000 this year.
"We will be open on the 23rd for those last minute (shoppers)," Keim said. "We will be closed on the 24th, so don't wait until the very last minute."