There is one Christmas tradition that we all seem to indulge in. The putting out of the Christmas stocking. Whilst this is something that so many of us do, how many of us have thought about why?
We wanted to know more about this tradition, so we’ve taken a look at the history of why we hang up stockings in our homes at Christmas.
The stocking story
It is thought that the origins of hanging stockings out at Christmas comes from the legend of St Nicholas of Myra, someone often thought to be the inspiration for our much loved modern Santa Claus.
Nicholas, was born during the third century in what was then Greece. He was raised by wealthy parents who were devout Christians, who died during an epidemic when Nicholas was still young. Obeying the biblical principles of Jesus to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his inheritance to help the needy, the sick, and the suffering. His love for children was well known, and Nicholas dedicating his life to his faith was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man.
Throughout the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds, and one story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those times, the father of a young woman had to pay a dowry, and the larger the dowry the the better the chance the young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, the women could be left unmarried, which appeared to be the fate of these 3 young ladies.
It is said that Nicholas heard of this poor man and his daughters need, and knowing that the man would not accept charity, Nicholas waited for night to come, and tossed 3 bags of gold through the open window, which landed in the stockings left in front of the fire drying. Rumour spread quickly throughout that their stockings were magically filled with coins during the night and the tradition was born. Sometimes, this story has been told with gold balls instead of bags of coins, which is where the representation of oranges has come from.
Traditional stocking fillers
Of course, not every family was lucky enough to have their stockings packed full with gold. But this didn’t stop children getting excited about what they would find on Christmas morning.
Who could forget the satsuma, orange or other small citrus fruit? This became a tradition in itself, and some families still do this to this day. Or the threat of coal making an appearance if they failed to behave during the year!
Other traditional stocking fillers were pencils, paper, soap, small wooden toys and nuts. Adults may also find things such as razors and perhaps even an apron or useful cooking tool for the lady of the house.
Modern stocking filler ideas
In modern times there are countless things that you can pop in a stocking. For children there are specific stocking sized toys that you can now buy which are sure to be a hit. Books, cd’s dvd’s and even miniature treats can all fit in the stocking, giving the person a whole variety of items to open.
If they have a sweet tooth, then don’t forget about us here at Choc Affair. We create delicious and delightful chocolate items, including gift sets that are just perfect to pop in a stocking! Whether you treat yourself or treat a loved one, we are sure that you will love our chocolates as much as we love making them.