"close-fitting garment covering the foot and lower leg," 1580s, from stock "leg covering, stocking" (late 15c.), from Old English stocu "sleeve," related to Old English stocc "trunk, log" (see stock (n.1)). Probably so called because of a fancied resemblance of legs to tree trunks, or a reference to the punishing stocks. Cognates include Old Norse stuka, Old High German stuhha, from the same Proto-Germanic source. Restriction to women's hose is 20c. As a receptacle for Christmas presents, attested from 1853; hence stocking stuffer first recorded 1945. Stocking-feet "without shoes" is from 1802.
"Church festival observed annually in memory of the birth of Christ," late Old English Cristes mæsse, from Christ (and retaining the original vowel sound) + mass (n.2).
Written as one word from mid-14c. As a verb, "to celebrate Christmas," from 1590s. Father Christmas is attested in a carol attributed to Richard Smart, Rector of Plymtree (Devon) from 1435-77. Christmas-tree in the modern sense is attested by 1835 in American English, rendering German Weihnachtsbaum. Christmas cards were first designed in 1843, popular by 1860s; the phrase Christmas-card was in use by 1850. Christmas present is from 1769. Christmas Eve is Middle English Cristenmesse Even (c. 1300).
"wearing or favoring silken hose," 1590s, from silk stocking (n.) "stocking made of silk" (1590s); see silk + stocking (n.). From the first they were symbols of extravagance, and in America after the Revolution silk stockings, especially worn by men, were regarded as reprehensible, indicative of luxurious habits.
late 14c., nowel, nouel "Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity," from Old French noel "the Christmas season," variant of nael, from Latin natalis (dies) "birth (day)," used in Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci "be born" (Old Latin gnasci), from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget." The modern word in English, with the sense "a Christmas carol" (1811) probably is a separate borrowing from French. As a masc. proper name, it is from Old French, probably literally "of or born on Christmas."
"ornament pattern on a stocking," 1520s, probably identical with clock (n.1) in its older sense and meaning "bell-shaped ornament," though clock seems never to have been used for "bell" in English. Related: Clocked; clock-stocking.
also leather-stocking, 1701, "a sock made of leather," from leather (n.) + stocking (n.). As "a wearer of socks made of leather," usually meaning "an American frontiersman," 1823, in reference to Natty Bumppo, nicknamed "Leatherstocking," the central character in J.F. Cooper's "Leatherstocking Tales."
1809, "first weekday after Christmas," on which by an English custom postmen, employees, and others can expect to receive a Christmas present; originally in reference to the custom of distributing the contents of the Christmas box, which had been placed in the church for charity collections. See box (n.1). The custom is older than the phrase.