The legend of Christmas stockings
Posted by SOCKSHOP
|Stockings are as much part of Christmas as mulled wine, mince pies and wondering whether it’ll snow.
But what’s the story behind the odd ritual?
|Reaching into his deep pockets, he pulled out a handful of gold coins and placed them inside each of the stockings. And then he was gone.
In the morning, the father discovered this bounty and knew it was a sign that his daughters were ready to marry. And they all lived happily ever after.
But that’s not the only story. There’s another version of the same story that not only explains the stockings (and Santa’s fondness for chimneys) but also why we put oranges into stockings.
In this version, the gold coins are replaced with gold balls. These gold balls are also a possible inspiration for our Christmas tree baubles.
Finally, a completely different story exists. This one revolves around the Dutch figures of Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete - the assistant to Santa Claus (Sinterklass in Dutch).
While Santa rides a big white horse, Pete has to settle for a mule. To help them on their way, Dutch children would leave hay and carrots for the horse and mule in their clogs, which would be replaced by Pete and Santa with small gifts.
As the Dutch moved to America, they took this tradition with them. Traditional Dutch clogs were replaced by the more readily available stockings. But the gift giving (and the tradition of leaving out food for Santa and his horse/mule/reindeer) persists.