Every Christmas, it has become a tradition to hang a Christmas stocking in fireplaces or walls during Christmas eve. Children and adult are excited to participate in this tradition. During Christmas day, after waking up, everyone heads toward the Christmas tree to open their gifts. They would reach for their Christmas stockings first to see what goodies and surprises are inside, then open their gifts under the Christmas tree.
There are many stories on how the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings came about. The most popular story is about a man whose wife died and left their three daughters with him. Although his three daughters were gentle and kind, the man was afraid that his daughters would never marry because he was poor and doesn’t have enough money to pay for their dowries. One day, while Saint Nicholas, also known as Saint Nicholas of Myra, was walking through town, he heard the townspeople talking about the man’s problem. He knew that the man would not accept his money willingly so he waited until it was dark and went to the man’s house. He climbed up to the chimney and dropped three bags of gold. It was a coincidence that the man’s daughters washed their clothes and hung their stockings by the fireplace to dry. The three bags of gold slipped inside the girl’s stockings. When the girls awoke the next morning, they were surprised to see a bag of gold in their stockings, more than enough to pay for each of their dowries. The girls got married and lived happily ever after. The story about the girl’s stockings spread throughout the town and the townsfolk started to hang their stockings by the fireplace in the hope of being as lucky and catching a bag of gold.
From then on, people started the tradition of hanging their Christmas stocking. It is very amusing how an old wive’s tale could start a tradition but then again, it is a tradition that everyone looks forward to every year. Christmas would not be the same without it.
Christmas stockings have evolved from the red fluffy stocking to a colorful one in different sizes, shapes and texture. Some even have the owner’s name printed on it. Instead of gold, different kinds of gifts are placed on the Christmas stockings nowadays. If you’ve been bad during the year, you might even get a lump of coal instead of goodies.
Different ideas for the modern Christmas stockings
Christmas stockings are now fun, unique, and can be an alternative to the gift basket or hostess gift.
A hostess gift could have spicy cheese, gourmet corn chips and salsa on it, which could go in any theme.
Handmade stockings are also available. They are unique and adds a traditional glow to the Christmas stocking. It can be made from different types of fabric, from recycled cotton to cashmere.
Christmas stockings can be used as gift wrapping for gifts that are long and big which looks awkward under the tree like a golf club, paintball gun, or a fancy cane. It can also be used as gag gift, just fill it with cereal boxes or balls of recycled paper with a special gift at the toe of the stocking.
Aside from Christmas stockings, stocking holders in different styles are also available to hold your stockings. Nails and cupboard hooks can be used but stocking holders adds a little style to your stockings without damaging your mantle piece.
Christmas stockings are part of the holiday tradition like Santa Claus. It has become a good alternative to gift baskets and gift wrapping of things that look weird under the Christmas tree. Whatever your taste or interest, there’s surely a Christmas stocking for you or your loved one. You could also consider using a stocking holder to compliment your stocking and prevent damage to your mantle piece.