Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

To many, they’re just the opening act on Christmas. The foot-shaped precursors to the important presents under the tree.

Not in my family. Growing up, stockings were a BIG DEAL on Christmas morning. In fact, it was understood that we wouldn’t even approach the tree presents until everyone had a chance to go through their stocking.

Stockings are unique in that many times, they actually have a higher hit rate than bigger gifts. Who knows if you’re going to like a shirt or a sweater? But of course, you’re gonna have fun with a gift card or some scratch-offs.

At the same time, stockings can also serve as the weapon of choice for passive aggression. Many times, you don’t necessarily get items that you want, but rather things you need (whether you realize it or not).

Stockings also served to foreshadow. For instance, if you got some headphones in your stocking, they could hint at a Discman under the tree.

Just like now, if you got a PlayStation 5 game…well, it would just be cruel if there wasn’t a console to go along with it.

Cruel, but funny. Who doesn’t love a nice Christmas prank in front of your entire family?

In New England, however, we have “expecteds.” These are stocking stuffers we cannot do without, for which we will rummage like one of those dang, dirty squirrels.

Certain items are there for tradition. Others are bona fide musts to make it through a New England winter (and perhaps keep you warm while you return that shirt or sweater).

20 Must-Have New England Stocking Stuffers

Get your New England Christmas off on the right foot (get it?) with these small, but can't-miss, items.

20 Ornaments You'll Find on a New England Christmas Tree

These holiday ornaments are common on many Christmas trees in New England. Are they on yours?

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