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Stockings at Christmas - Origin

Definition: Where did the tradition of hanging stockings at Christmas come from?

 

Many people know of Saint Nicholas being the basis of Santa Claus, but the practice of stocking-stuffing can be traced back to his charitable donations in the 4th century. Nicholas believed that childhood should be savored and enjoyed - but in a time where boys and girls younger than 10 had to work to support their families, this wasn't always possible.

He therefore gave what he could in homemade food, clothes, and furniture. The bishop even gave out oranges, which would have been very rare and expensive in Lycia, where he lived. The problem became where to leave these gifts so that the children would find them. According to legends, he then saw girls' stockings hanging above the fireplace, and ol' Saint Nick (to paraphrase) thought "Why not?" From then on, children would hang stockings up hoping that Saint Nicholas would visit them that night.

Beyond St. Nick, the practice can be traced back to Scandinavian countries that still held their Pagan beliefs. Children would leave their shoes full of carrots, straw, or other similar foods for Odin's mythic horse, Sleipnir. When Sleipnir ate the food, Odin would leave candy or other treats in their place.

Collections:

Christmas Traditions and Folklore

 

Related Categories:

| St. Nicholas | Krampus | St. Nicholas Symbols | Origin of Santa Claus | Mistletow - Origination | Boxing Day - Origination | Santa Claus and Coca-Cola | Gift Giving - Origin | Wreaths - Origin | Christmas Tree - Origin | Caroling - Origin |

Resources:

  external link10 Remarkable Origins of Common Christmas Traditions

 

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