History of the Christmas Stocking

Christmas is fast approaching and if you don’t have your stocking hung on the mantle yet…get on it! Christmas stockings are a deep rooted Christian tradition, but generally used for anyone who celebrates Christmas for any reason. Mostly that reason is presents. But do you know the origin of the Christmas stocking?

Apparently no one really does, but the legend goes back to Saint Nicholas. Ol’ Saint Nick was a real figure and a bishop of the Catholic church who is known also for signing the Nicene Creed and being patron saint of sailors, children, and pawnbrokers. He also became associated with Christmas and muddled up with Santa Clause due to a story no one is quite sure on. The legend goes that St. Nick heard of a man who had no money to pay a dowry for his three daughters. Being unmarried, they would be looked down upon and shamed, but the man would not accept charity. So Nicholas, under the cover of night, threw three bags of gold through an open window into their stockings which were drying on the mantle over the fire. While there are many variations on this story, the trend caught on and children across Europe began hanging stockings on their mantles. At first these were just everyday socks and stockings, but over time they became specialized items that held more gifts.

Be sure to hang your stocking by the fire this year so you don’t miss out on all the generosity of St. Nick. And if it turns out to be coal in your stocking on Christmas morning, just remember…there’s always next year.

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