I'm sure we did have them as kids, though I don't remember what mine looked like. We got the usual kinds of things - candy, small toys or other trinkets. We didn't have a bannister or a hearth, so we hung them on a short section of wall between the living room and kitchen.
When I started dating the girl who would become my wife, I was gifted with a stocking made by her great aunt Sally. It's a hand-knitted heirloom quality stocking, and all of her family has them. This is mine in the photo. I still have it, it gets hung up every year, on the bannister I have in my current house. My wife's gets hung there as well, and all of my kids. Each got their stocking in turn, and as they move out, they will take them along.
We also get the usual sorts of things in them - candy and small toys or other useful gifts. One unusual tradition we've started and maintained is to also include a can of silly string in each one. Then, on Christmas morning, we each empty our stockings and have a massive silly string fight in the living room. It's great fun, but really kind of a pain to clean up, as the silly string goes everywhere, and gets into everything. We sometimes find bits of it weeks later!
This and all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman