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Once again Christmas 2016 is fast approaching. Once the children go back to school parents know that the next big occasion after Halloween is Christmas. Its probably the only time in year when most people are off together with their families and friends to enjoy the christmas cheer. Christmas is a time that people spend quality time in their homes and so the decor of their home is so important. People who would never be into personalisation will personalise christmas socks and sacks, will personalise wine labels and will personlise christmas ornaments for their christmas tree. At WowWee.ie and wowWee.co.uk we are very conscious that our customers, fans and followers are looking for quality unique christmas decorations. We also know that they are organised and like to shop early so they have full choice of christmas stockings and gifts. The prevalent custom of washing red stockings with white trim and hang them near the fireplace in anticipation that Santa will fill them with gifts is quite ancient and has been followed in many countries. Christmas stockings have now become inseparable from Christmas symbols and children love to find small gifts or knicks-knacks in these stockings in the morning. Here are some legends and theories on how Christmas stockings became so popular and a part of Christmas traditions: The tradition of hanging stockings is said to have its roots in the 16th century Dutch tradition, where children in Holland used to leave their clogs by the fireplace filled with straw for the reindeers or donkeys of the Saint and a treat for Santa himself in the house. In return, the Santa Claus used to leave treats for children. There is a legend about kind Saint Nicholas related to the tradition of Christmas stockings. Once a kind nobleman had a turn of fate. He lost his money and his wife and was left alone to fend off his old days with three daughters of marriage-able age. Once, when St. Nicholas was going on rounds, he heard all four of them crying together for they had little to eat and make merry. Their biggest problem was how to arrange dowries Our Sister Company WowWee.co.uk also showcases a large selection of Personalised Christmas Stockings for all ages, tastes and budgets. for the daughters so that they can get married. The saint knew that these people were too respectable to be offered any charity and so he thought of another way to help them out. He saw that the three daughters had washed their stockings and hung them over their fireplace to dry. So, in the night, he quietly climbed down the chimney and placed three purses of gold in each of the girl's stockings that was enough to marry them off. In the morning, when the family found the money, they were very thankful to God and the kind nobleman who did so much for them. According to yet another theory, at about the end of the nineteenth century, Thomas Nast and George Webster cooked up a story about a visit from Santa Claus as an illustrator and writer respectively, which became very popular. It was in this story that Christmas stockings were first mentioned as being hung from a chimney, thus, giving birth to the tradition. Christmas Stockings, Christmas Stocking Sale, Plush Christmas Stocking, Traditional Christmas Stockings, Santa Stockings, Santa Socks, Socks for Christmas, Christmas Stockings, Christmas stockings with names, names on stockings, names on christmas stockings, unique christmas stockings, embroidered stockings, monogrammed stockings, monogrammed christmas stockings, christmas stockings monogrammed. Below are some ideas for inexpensive, exciting gifts for children and the young at heart. A great small gift for kids’ stockings is a puzzle game, like a Money Maze, in which you can hide a bank note or a voucher. This will entertain the little ones for…well…minutes, but that’s quite an achievement on Christmas day! Other small gift options include small coin purses for girls; practical things like pencil cases, pens and crafting materials; stickers; hair bands and clips; action figures and sweets/chocolates. If you want to put a ‘star prize’ in their stocking, a game for their hand-held computer game will be appreciated. For adults that can’t resist receiving their own stockings there are also some easy options for great stocking fillers. For women, make-up is a usually a winner, while a pretty scarf, gloves or some jewellery will also go down well. For men, try a pair of cufflinks or a money clip, toiletries or practical items such as a pocket torch, cycling accessories or golf balls. Turn your home into a Christmas grotto for a children’s party Christmas is a magical time for kids and throwing a Christmas party for your children and their friends is a lovely way to celebrate the festive season. Making sure you have plenty of indoor fairy lights, a fantastic Christmas tree and wonderful decorations and your home will have a real party atmosphere. You could also encourage the children to wear fancy dress to get them involved in creating the seasonal atmosphere. There are lots of great activities and games you can get the children to take part in at a Christmas party. If you have a large number of excitable children, ask them to cut out brightly coloured stars from card or metallic paper and hide their stars in another room. Once you have hidden all the stars let the children in to find them and give prizes to those who find the most. Smaller groups will love to make decorations and Christmas ornaments that they can take home with them. If you provide them with the craft supplies and leave them to it, you will be surprised what great tree decorations they can make. As well as making festive decorations, making cakes and biscuits is also fun and everyone gets to enjoy their efforts once they are cooked! Stuff in those Christmas stocking fillers Sometimes, the greatest surprise gift can come from the stockings, where you would least expect! All the big presents can be wrapped up and kept under the tree. The small ones that are crammed into a stocking or a sock and hung by the chimneys are known as the Christmas stockings fillers. The history behind this practice is that long ago, there was a poor, old man with three daughters. He was so poor that he couldn’t buy anything for his family for Christmas. Santa knew about this and decided to help the man. But, the old man wouldn’t take any charity. So, Santa on a night before Christmas crept into the old man’s house and decided to leave three bags of gold. He didn’t know where to put them, so he found three stockings of the girls hanging by the chimney. So he dropped the gold into the stockings and so this in turn led kids to hang up their stockings by the chimney so Santa could visit them and put their gifts into it. Christmas stocking fillers don’t need much thought while purchasing. Parents can fill them up with anything from small stuffed toys like teddy bears, beads, chains and ponies for little girls and cars, balls, colors and trucks for boys, to stickers, piggy banks, small books and candy in general. For adults, some useful and common articles can be used to fill up the stockings. But, it’s always nice to get creative with the Christmas stockings fillers!He was so poor that he couldn’t buy anything for his family for Christmas. Santa knew about this and decided to help the man. But, the old man wouldn’t take any charity. So, Santa on a night before Christmas crept into the old man’s house and decided to leave three bags of gold. He didn’t know where to put them, so he found three stockings of the girls hanging by the chimney. So he dropped the gold into the stockings and so this in turn led kids to hang up their stockings by the chimney so Santa could visit them and put their gifts into it. Parents can fill them up with anything from small stuffed toys like teddy bears, beads, chains and ponies for little girls and cars, balls, colors and trucks for boys, to stickers, piggy banks, small books and sweets in general. For adults, some useful and common articles can be used to fill up the stockings. But, it’s always nice to get creative with the Christmas stockings fillers!He was so poor that he couldn’t buy anything for his family for Christmas. Santa knew about this and decided to help the man. But, the old man wouldn’t take any charity. So, Santa on a night before Christmas crept into the old man’s house and decided to leave three bags of gold. Nothing says "you belong to our tribe" as much as being given a personalized Christmas stocking to match the rest of the family. Christmas stockings -- or shoes to be filled with small gifts -- have been around for a long time. The tradition is widely thought to have originated in Germany, and the earliest recorded stories include the children using their own, everyday, socks, or shoes to receive the gifts. Oh Christmas Tree Christmas carol One of our favourite carols to sing at Christmas time is ‘Oh Christmas Tree’. This can also be sung as the German version, ‘Oh Tenenbaum.’ O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thou tree most fair and lovely! Oh Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thou tree most fair and lovely! The sight of thee at Christmastide Spreads hope and gladness far and wide Oh Christmas tree, O Christmas tree Thou tree most fair and lovely! O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thou hast a wondrous message: O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thou hast a wondrous message: Thou dost proclaim the Saviour's birth Good will to men and peace on earth O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Thou hast a wondrous message O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! You stand in verdant beauty O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! You stand in verdant beauty Your boughs are green in summer's glow And do not fade in winter's snow O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! You stand in verdant beauty O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree How laden are your branches O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! Your presence here enhances Your silver star does glisten bright Reflecting all the candlelight O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree! How laden are your branches O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree You fill all hearts with gaiety O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree You fill all hearts with gaiety On Christmas Day you stand so tall Affording joy to one and all O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree You fill all hearts with gaiety Make ready-filled stocking for Christmas party guests Christmas stockings are traditionally hung over the fireplace and filled with gifts for Christmas morning. However, why leave all the fun until Christmas Eve? If you are throwing a party for adults or children this Christmas, make it one to remember and give your guest filled mini stockings to take away with them. Stocking are great festive alternatives to party bags and can be tailored to your guests. Here are some ideas for different themed party stockings: Retro Toy Stocking: Try filling mini stockings with small items that will remind your guests of their childhood, such as bouncy balls, polystyrene gliders, small ball-bearing games, whoopie cushions and glow sticks Retro Sweets Stocking: Everyone loves retro sweets, You can either go really old-fashioned with humbugs, sherbet lemons and rhubarb & custards, or hark back the 1970s and 80s with sherbet fountains, crackling candy, edible necklaces, candy cigarettes, sherbet spaceships and fizzers. Kids’ Stationery Stocking: This is a fun and useful stocking idea with gifts that are easy to find and purchase such as novelty rubbers, pencils, colouring pens, mini notebooks and post-its. Ladies’ Stocking: Include things like make-up, inexpensive bracelets or brooches, chiffon scarves and small make-up bags or novelty purses. Men’s Stocking: Most men will enjoy playing with retro toys so you can include some from the first list and add pens, mini playing cards, a compass, pocketknife, multi-tool or a keyring. Europe’s best Christmas markets Across Europe, and increasingly in the UK, Christmas markets are magical places to visit in the run up to Christmas to buy gifts, eat yummy food, sip hot mulled wine or simply soak up the festive atmosphere. Choose from a great range of personalised christmas stocking. Here’s a pick of some of the best: BATH: If you can’t get away this Christmas there are plenty of British market, with Bath being among the best. This European-style Christmas market is being held between 26 November and 6 December 2009 and will host 123 traditional wooden chalets selling beautiful handmade gifts, delicious English and European food and mulled wine. This market is a great opportunity to take in the breathtakingly beautiful city while snooping out unique gifts. COLOGNE: This picturesque German town has no fewer than six Christmas markets, with the largest taking place in the Neumarkt. For something a bit different, try the market that takes place on a boat on the Rhine This year http://www.WowWee.ie will be presenting their goods at the Cologne Christmas Market. BASEL: Switzerland’s best Weinachtsmarkt is in the border town of Basel on the banks of the Rhine. It takes place from 24 November and runs right up to Christmas eve, so there’s plenty of chances to sample the traditional St Nicholas Pastries. The Christmas cracker tradition Christmas crackers have long been a part of the traditional Christmas in the West, but where did the tradition start and why do we pull crackers at Christmas time? Christmas crackers are seen as a decorative way to give a small gift to guests on a dinner table or are used to decorate Christmas trees in many modern homes. The were invented by Thomas Smith in 1846. He saw that the French often bought little sugar-coated almonds wrapped in paper twisted at either end, called bon-bons. He successfully sold the bon-bons in the UK in the run up to Christmas. In the 1850s he decided to boost sales by including a love poem in the wrapping of the sweets, and later included a ‘cracker’ by impregnating some paper with chemicals that made a snapping noise when pulled apart…the cracker was born. Christmas crackers are known to be found in people's personalised christmas stockings on christmas morning and placed on the set table on time for dinner. His sons took over the business in the 1900s and the idea of including a paper hat was invented. It is thought that the tradition of wearing a king’s crown may originate from the Twelfth Night celebrations, at which a king or queen would be appointed to oversee the occasion. The addition of a gift, such as a Christmas ornament, decoration or ‘stocking filler,’ has become part of the modern cracker and is seen by many as the most exciting part of the cracker-pulling tradition. Make Christmas-themed cookies for friends and family For a recession-proof Christmas gift, why not make some lovely Christmas-themed cookies for your friends and family this year. They are easy to make and delicious to eat! This following list of ingredients makes 20 biscuits. Cookies are a great Christmas Stocking Filler and economical one too. You will need: 140g icing sugar, sieved 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg yolk 250g butter, cut into small cubes 375g plain flour, sieved Method: combine the Vanilla, icing sugar, egg yolk and butter in a mixing bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. Then add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir well until you have a firm dough. Roll the dough out to a thickness of a £1 coin and cut out Christmas-themed shapes with special cookie cutters. Christmas stocking, Christmas trees and star shapes are good options because these shapes are simple and they don't require a lot of detail. Once they are cut out, arrange them on some greese proof paper on a baking tray and cook at gas mark five for 10-12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Once the cookies are completely cool, the fun begins! You can use anything from icing to silver balls to hundreds and thousands to decorate the Christmas cookies, but it’s a good idea to go for bright decorations for kids and stick to white and silver for adults. Top five Christmas gift ideas for teenagers Too old for toys, too young for bath salts and slippers: what to buy teenage children for Christmas is a quandary for many parents. Find inspiration with these top five Christmas gift ideas for teenagers: 1) Money It may not be the most original Christmas gift in the world, but few teenagers will say no to cash. 2) Electronics Teenagers love being in possession of any gadget that makes them look cool in front of their mates. Digital cameras, netbooks and e-readers are all cutting edge gadgets that teens will love. 3) Books Certainly cheaper than gadgets and more educational too, there are books available from Amazon and traditional stores on every topic under the sun. Whatever your teenager is interested in, there’s bound to be a fascinating book all about it. 4) Concert tickets Find out who your teenager’s favourite band is, and buy a bunch of tickets as a Christmas present. They can go to the gig with their friends (they probably won’t want to go with Mum or Dad). 5) Activity days Companies like Activity Superstore let you buy vouchers for every sort of activity from scuba diving to horse riding. Some vouchers even leave the option open so your teenager can choose their own activity. 6. Personalised Christmas Stockings Teenagers loved to be remembered especially at Christmas Time. They like to be grown up all year but their childish tendancies come out at Christmas like us all. The stocking can be filled with concert tickets, make up (for girls), sweets or bars, perfumes and aftershaves - you name it. Top ways to avoid stress this Christmas We all feel the pressure to buy the best gifts, cook the yummiest meal and make sure everyone is having fun at Christmas, which can lead to some stressful moments! However, there is lots you can do to relieve the strain in the run up to the festive season. • One of the key things to remember when entertaining at Christmas is to go with the flow. Don’t try to force people to attend activities or parties that they are not comfortable with and don’t try to impress too much. A simple, laid back gathering will be far more fun and is more appropriate for this busy time of year. • Don’t feel you have to carry on traditions from when you were a child once you have your own family. They may not work for you and could become a source of stress. Instead, try making your own, new traditions which work for your children and make your Christmas unique to you. • When buying gifts, keep it simple. Shop online for christmas gifts and avoid the high street jungle, parking and queuing. A well chosen game, personalised book or toy will be enjoyed by most children. • Buy online! Avoid the pre-Christmas shopping rush and select your gifts, decorations and food from the comfort of your own home. TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY. Make something new from your old Christmas cards There are many ways to recycle your Christmas cards to make them into something useful for next Christmas: • Make attractive Christmas ornaments for trees or tables from your Christmas cards by cutting two of the same shape from the cards (those with large pictures/patterns work best). Stick the two shapes together so the picture is on both sides and laminate with sticky-back plastic. Punch a hole in the top of the shapes, thread through a ribbon loop and hang them on the tree. These make a environmentally-friendly alternative to expensive tree decorations. • Use your favourite cards to make gift tags for next year. Children will love helping with this activity. Simply cut the shape you require and let the children punch holes and thread through attractive ribbon to tie to your gifts. • Create a hi-tech version of a scrap book by scanning your favourite cards along with some particularly nice messages, onto your computer. You can then arrange them in a document, which can be saved, used as a screen saver or wall paper or simply printed off. Do this each year for a great memento. Christmas Stockings, Personalised Christmas Stockings, Stockings, Personalised christmas socks, embroidered christmas stockings Personalised Christmas Stockings Hanging so Santa will know who is who Personalised Christmas stockings Santa, Reindeers, sleigh and the crew WowWee have a huge selection of Christmas Stockings that are beautifully crafted with appliqued felt snowflake accents, our stockings feature whipstitched edges and a snow white cuff. We embroider up to 12 characters. Our christmas stocking designs are inspired by heart warming christmas scenes. We like them to create a christmas look and feel to where ever they are hung. With 10 years experience embroidering stockings we know what our customers like and we know what christmas stockings sell. We also acknowledge that there are all kinds of tastes and budgets when it comes to Christmas Decorations and so we pride ourselves in having the finest selection on the Market. "Night Before Christmas" Cup Cakes 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter 2 beaten eggs 1/2 cup warm milk 2 teaspoons bulk yeast dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla Mix all the ingridenients together for 5 mnutes in a firm blender. Bake in individual muffin tin. Decorate with white icing for the snow and make sugar paste into all kinds of personalised christmas stockings, personalised christmas ornaments, christmas decorations, bells, holly - ideas are endless. Great activity for Family to do together. http://www.WowWee.ie http://www.WowWee.co.uk http://www.WowWee.ie Santa Claus is real. And this is his true story. Born nearly 2000 years ago, not too long after the days that Jesus Christ walked the earth, Nicholas was born to wealthy parents in a tiny village in the country we today call Turkey. Though Nicholas was a child of privilege, he was raised a Christian and at a very young age was devoted to the faith. Nicholas' parents died while he was yet a boy. And not knowing what to do with himself or the fortune he inherited, he turned to his Bible and read the words of admonishment that Christ gave to a wealthy man: "Sell all thou hath and give it to the poor and follow me". Nicholas went to his village priest, confessed his sins and expressed the desires of his heart. He wished to become a priest. Because he was an orphan, the priest took him in. And soon he found that Nicholas was no ordinary boy. Legend tells the story of a young Nicholas visiting the Holy Land with his village priest. On the return voyage, over stormy waters, their ship was cast about and all aboard feared for their lives. Nicholas steadfastly prayed for the safety of the passengers and crew. His faith astonished those with him as the storm passed and the waters calmed. The village priest was fond of Nicholas. But he knew Nicholas lacked the education and the credentials necessary to become a priest. He would need a miracle if it was to happen. And a miracle is just what he got. In the not too distant city of Myra, the Bishop of the church passed away. As the authorities of the church assembled to consider his replacement, Nicholas was there. The man considered wisest amongst the authorities had a dream and was visited by a heavenly messenger. He inquired of the angel "Who should the new Bishop be?". The angel said that if the gathered authorities would just wait by the door of the church they should select the first person named Nicholas to walk through the doors. The church authorities had their answer, and Nicholas had his miracle and was named the youngest bishop of the church ever on record. As a young Bishop, Nicholas was fearless in his defense of the faith. He became known as an outspoken caretaker of the people of his flock and as one very close to God, due to his faith. When the citizens of Myra came to him to complain of a difficult tax burden, he approached the Emperor for relief. Constantine, who was not Christian and who had previously cast Nicholas into prison for his vigorous public defense of Christianity, wrote a decree lowering the tax due to Bishop Nicholas' pleas on behalf of the people. Bishop Nicholas took the written decree and cast it upon the waters towards the city of Myra. Sometime later, the finance ministers from Rome met with Constantine to change his mind about the tax. Constantine called Nicholas before him and asked for the written decree back. When Nicholas declared that he had cast the decree upon the water and that the change to the law had already taken affect, Constantine did not believe him. He sent a runner to Myra who returned a few days later to confirm that all Nicholas had said was true. Nicholas was beloved of the people of Myra for his kindness especially to children. One such deed became a legend that has survived for centuries and is celebrated even now in a variety of cultures. In his town where he was Bishop, Nicholas once gave an anonymous gift to a man with three daughters. The family was destitute of means. The custom of the time was that each daughter would need to be provided with a dowry in order to marry. Because they were poor, the father of the three daughters was contemplating selling his children into slavery. Nicholas heard of their plight and on a dark night soon after the eldest daughter came to marrying age, he tossed a small bag of gold through an open window (and some say he tossed it down the chimney), sparing her a life of misery. As the second daughter came of age he repeated the deed, again doing so anonymously. As the third daughter came of age the father waited up nights to catch the gift-giver in order to express his gratitude. His persistence paid off as he caught Bishop Nicholas in the act. This story is recounted in many lands, although some of the details change from one telling to another. Some say it was not bags of gold but rather balls of gold that Nicholas left. Some say he tossed them into the chimney where they landed in the hanging stockings or the drying shoes of the unmarried girls. That is why some, to remember this event,celebrate Christmas was an orange in the toe of a stocking. Nicholas was known for many such deeds. Miracles were attributed to the Bishop of Myra because of his great faith. Some were individual stories, like the man with three daughters. Others were stories of Bishop Nicholas acting on behalf of all the people. One very famous story had to do with a terrible season of famine in Myra. The drought was so bad the people there were starting to go hungry. Bishop Nicholas approached the captains of the ships ported in Myra, for he knew the ships contained grain destined for faraway places. But the captains were reluctant to help. They were paid for full cargos and they explained to Bishop Nicholas that they had to deliver them as they received them. Nicholas promised them that if they would share but a small part from each ship, the credit they required for full delivery would be granted them. They agreed, and Nicholas took the food to the people and fed them for two years with it, even having enough left over to plant for seed when the famine passed. But when the ships took to sea and arrived at their destinations, the captains of the ships found their holds full upon arrival and declared the event a miracle. This caused the reputation of Nicholas to spread. He became, over time, the patron saint of children, of sailors, of the unmarried, and of innocents wrongly accused or persecuted. So famous did Nicholas become that no other name in the church, save Jesus and the Virgin Mary only, was so widely known or respected. More than 2000 churches in the Old World bore the name of Saint Nicholas. And his legend only grew as the centuries passed. This is just the beginning of the story of Santa Claus. The genesis of the man we anticipate each Christmas came from the good Bishop of Myra -- a man in red robes, a man with a long beard, and a man known for anonymous giving -- especially to children. Are personalised christmas stockings the most important decorations in the home.