Unpacking the Christmas decorations is my favorite part of the holidays. I have ornaments from my dad’s childhood and from mine, a darling stuffed Santa that my mom gave me, and myriad tree-shaped candles that make the mantle magical. Also, a Christmas village comes to life on the coffee table. It’s a labor of love putting it all out. (And a pain in the you-know-what to put it away!)
I’ve added my own touches to the decorations over the years, with handknit ornaments and other Christmas crafts, and my favorite stocking tags made with cross-stitch patterns. I started making these for my family when I was in college when I discovered and fell in love with cross-stitch. I chose small, easy cross-stitch patterns to stitch onto a rectangle, and then stuffed them. I hung them on the stockings late one Christmas Eve after everyone had gone to sleep and before Santa showed up.
My family loved them! I’ve added to the collection as our family has grown and changed. Mimi’s was added the Christmas after we got married, and when nephew Henry came along, he got one, too. Gramma has passed on, but we keep a stocking up for her. I think I should probably make some personalized Christmas stocking tags for the pets, don’t you?
How to Make Personalized Christmas Stocking Tags
My tags range in sizes, but the average is three-and-a-quarter inches by two-and-a-quarter inches. I stitched them on a piece of Aida cross-stitch cloth that was about three inches by four inches so I had about a half-inch selvage edge to sew them together.
Step 1. Look through your cross-stitch books and magazines (or online!) for small objects to stitch, they can be holiday-themed or not; I love my mix of both. You’ll also need cross-stitch patterns for the alphabet, to use for the names on the tags. There are many websites that offer free cross-stitch patterns, or you can copy mine if you want to!
Step 2. After the stitching is done, choose some fabric for the backing material. I chose fabric from my mom’s stash, so they’re all different, but you could get a couple of fat quarters from the fabric store. You need a piece that’s three inches by four inches for each tag.
Step 3. Place the Aida fabric and the backing fabric right sides together and backstitch around both long edges and one short edge. Clip the corners to reduce bulk, being careful to not to clip too close to the stitching line. Trim the rest of the selvage to one-quarter inch. Turn the tag right side out.
Step 4. To make the hanger, thread a length of embroidery floss (all six strands) up through one inside corner and then down through the opposite corner, and knot both ends on the inside. (For the “Gramma” tag, I pulled a doubled length of thread through one hole and tied the ends in a knot on the inside.)
Step 5. Fill the tag with your preferred stuffing, and whip-stitch the edge closed. (For the “Gramma” and “Mimi” tags, I used a running stitch around the tag, which leaves a dash pattern. This stitch is easy to do on Aida fabric since the holes are already there. Then I fringed the edges for a decorative look. I really like these, especially Gramma’s, with the long fringe.)
These tags were made over the course of twenty-five years, so you can see the evolution of my design. The frayed-edge tags were the last ones I made and my favorites. But they all hold a dear place in my heart, and I love saying hello to them during the holidays.
I hope you’ll make personalized Christmas stocking tags for your family. If you don’t cross-stitch, you can make embroidered name tags, quilted tags, or sewn tags. Just get crafty!
If you’re interested in more handmade gift ideas, check out my knitted dishcloth pattern. You can also make mittens out of old sweaters with our sweater mitten pattern, and learn how to knit socks so you can whip up everyone’s favorite stocking stuffer!
P.S. What’s your favorite handmade holiday item?