Christmas is one of the most magical times. The count down throughout December is almost too much for a lot of people, especially children. The decorating of the house, the putting up of the Christmas tree, the thought of gifts on Christmas Day morning. One of the most magical parts of Christmas is the Christmas stockings. Not only do presents appear under the tree, they also get stuffed into our quirky and festively personalised stockings. Let’s take a look at why Christmas stockings are so magical.
The History Of Christmas Stockings
There are a number of different myths and legends about the history of Christmas stockings. Whilst there is nothing officially written down in records about the origins, the stories make for a good read. One of these is that Saint Nicholas wanted to help a family but knew the Dad wouldn’t accept charity. So he decided to help in secret by throwing three bags of gold through an open window. One of these landed in a stocking. Other versions of the same story end with Saint Nicholas throwing all three bags of gold into stockings which were drying by the fire.
In turn, this led to children across the land hanging up stockings in the hope that Saint Nicholas would leave them gifts. Some children put out shoes to be filled. Sometimes the story is told with the bags of gold being gold balls, which in turn are no represented by oranges.
An unsubstantiated Scandinavian/Germanic claim revolves around Odin and his flying horse Sleipnir. Children would leave their shoes near the chimney filled with carrots and straw for the horse to eat. In return, Odin would re-fill the shoes with gifts. This claim is doubted due to there being no records of stocking filling practices related to Odin until there merging of Saint Nicholas with Odin. There was also an earlier merger between the Grandmother cult in Bari, Italy where grandmothers would fill stockings with gifts. This added clout to Saint Nicholas which would then move north and merge with Odin cults.
Christmas Stockings Today
Christmas stockings today are readily available in a whole selection of shapes, sizes and colours. Today’s tradition is putting out stockings on Christmas Eve which would then be filled with small gifts, fruit, coins and sweets. Some people hang them by the fireplace, some on their bedroom doors, others lave them on the sofa downstairs. You can even get special Christmas stocking hooks where the family hang their stockings before bed time. Some of the Christmas stockings are personalised with the name of the child or maybe simply their initial from their first name. This helps Santa identify which stocking is for who and fill it with the appropriate gifts.
Some families have stockings which have been passed down through the generations or some make their own. This could be buying a ready made one and customising it, or creating one from scratch with felt or knitting skills. What’s your Christmas stocking like?
Christmas is a magical time and the idea of a magical figure gifting you a stocking full of unknown gifts is mind-blowing. No wonder it’s so difficult to get kids to sleep on Christmas Eve!