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The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

It's finally Christmas Eve today -- have you checked if your Christmas stockings are already hanging somewhere in your home? How many of us are even still doing this Yuletide tradition? If you've ever wondered about the origins of the Christmas custom, read on and also take a look at some from many holidays past!

These kids already have their Christmas stockings hanged, ready for Santa’s gifts. How about yours? Photo via Threaded on Smithsonian.com

Look around your cozy home, beautifully decorated for the Yuletide season. Christmas tree heavy with shiny tinsel balls, lights casting a warm glow all around, cheery Christmas wreaths hanging outside your door—check, check, check. Wait! You haven’t forgotten to hang Christmas stockings, have you?

Before you scramble for some brightly-colored socks to entice Santa Claus with, let me tell you a popular legend telling how this age-old Christmas tradition possibly began. As an added treat, this Christmas story comes with vintage photos of Christmas stockings from many holidays past!

Many centuries ago, there was a poor man living in a village. His wife had just passed away and he was left penniless after spending on things that he hoped could cure her. He had three lovely daughters and was worried about their future when he too passes away, but since he had no money left, he can’t provide them with dowry for marriage.

St. Nicholas was passing through the village when he overheard some people talking about the poor man and his beautiful daughters. He wanted to help, but when he learned that the poor man wouldn’t accept charity, the kind-hearted St. Nicholas decided to help in secret.

He waited until it was nighttime and made his way down the chimney, carrying three bags filled with gold coins — one for each girl. While he was looking around for a spot to place his gifts, he noticed that the girls had hanged their stockings over the fireplace’s mantelpiece to dry them. He placed a bag inside each stocking and left.

The next morning, the three girls and their father woke up to find the bags of gold coins inside the stockings, and were of course, ecstatic over these gifts. The three girls eventually got married and lived happily ever after!

The anatomy of Christmas stockings. Interesting ad from a 1918 catalog. Image via Threaded on Smithsonian.com

From this heartwarming story came the Christmas stocking tradition which started in Europe, with children hanging their socks or special stockings for Christmas on the fireplace mantel (and soon, everywhere else in the house). Christmas stockings eventually evolved to come in all sorts of shades, shapes, and sizes. Some families even began their own, putting names of each family member so Santa would know which gift should go inside each stocking!

I won’t keep you any longer — go ahead and hang those socks and stockings before it’s too late!

Merry Christmas!

All information for this article were sourced from Christmas stocking on Wikipedia and Yahoo! Voices.

written by plasticpopsicle

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