I had Christmas stockings as a child and I have them as an adult (though not the same ones, unfortunately). My teenage daughters still have Christmas stockings and are angling to continue to have them for as long as possible.
When I was a child, the Christmas stocking was for fruit (mostly oranges, sometimes apples), nuts, candy canes, and possibly a little bit of change.
My husband and I bought a pair of stockings from Afghanistan during our graduate school days in the late 1970s and still have them. For some reason, our cats have always loved them. It may be the lanolin in the wool; whatever it is, the effect is almost as strong as catnip. Below is a picture of Fred, from our first quartet of cats, rubbing on one of the stockings. The current cat crew do the same thing.
Fred and the Afghan stocking
We try not to go overboard with gift-giving in general, but to make things fun, there is some focus on stocking gifts. Our daughters’ stockings are usually chock-full of smaller presents. When they were younger, many of the items were small and usually inexpensive toys, supplemented by things like Christmas candy, socks, and hair bows. Now they still receive socks and Christmas candy, but the other items might be make-up, lotion, inexpensive earrings, and sometimes Mombux (3x5 cards with stickers and a promise of a purchase or mini-shopping-spree with Mom: “A pair of shoes,” “$15 at the thrift store,” “$20 at the bookstore,” etc.). And there is always a shiny new penny in the bottom of the stockings for good luck. Mom and Dad each get candy and a penny in their stockings.
(Yes, there was still a Halloween pumpkin decoration on the wall.)
In addition to getting to rub on the Afghan stockings on Christmas morning, each of our cats has a stocking with his or her name on it. Their stockings usually contain catnip and cat toys (mostly furry mice with things inside that make a rattling noise so that they “skitter” really well and get the cats all excited).
Rocky rests under the Christmas tree after a heavy session with the Afghan sock followed by the catnip bag