Soon children and, in some homes, adults, will hang their stockings on the fireplace expecting Santa to come and fill them with goodies. “What a very funny tradition”, you might say! “How on earth did it start?” you might ask.
We did a little research and found this anonymous Legend of Christmas Stockings:
One well accepted legend tells about a kindly nobleman whose wife had died of an illness leaving the nobleman and his three daughters in despair. After losing all his money in useless and bad inventions the family had to move into a peasant’s cottage, where the daughters did their own cooking, sewing and cleaning.
When it came time for the daughters to marry, the father became even more depressed as his daughters could not marry. At this time the only way a woman could marry was if she had a dowry (money and property given to the new husband’s family).
One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the nobleman’s house. Looking in the window Saint Nicholas saw that the family had gone to bed. He also noticed the daughters stockings. Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas and he took three small bags of gold coins from his pouch and threw them one by one down the chimney and they landed in the stockings.
The next morning when the daughters awoke they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to see his three daughters marry and he lived a long and happy life. Word quickly spread of this good fortune and soon people all through the village were hanging their stockings by the fire in hopes that Saint Nicholas would leave them treasures also.
From this was born the legend of Santa coming down the chimney and placing gifts in children’s Christmas Stockings.
Well done, Saint Nicholas!
Whether this is the true legend or not, it certainly makes for a grand story and adds to the joy of watching the children’s faces on Christmas morning when they see their previously empty stockings filled.
More joy, for sure!