Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Stockings

“The stockings were hung by the  chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nicolas soon would be there.”
A quote from my favorite Christmas story/poem “ The Night Before Christmas”. The story that has been read to me or I have read every year of my life. In truth I know it by heart but I love the old images in the book far too much to miss.

We all love this story and most of us partake in this quaint Christmas tradition of hanging stockings Christmas Eve. In my house on Christmas morning the Christmas stockings are always a wonderful treat.
Have you ever wondered how it all began?

The stockings or hose pictured in this fantastic ancient painting show you the style of the stockings of the day. We will never know for sure but here is the legend behind the Christmas stockings.

It is thought that around 300AD a kindly young bishop began the quest of leaving secret gifts for needy people and disappearing without thanks. His fame grew until he was named Saint Nicolas.
It was common in days of old to leave stocking to dry overnight pinned to the hearth.

A nobleman mourning the loss of his wife was said to have thrown away his fortune leaving his 3 daughters without a dowry and thus unable to marry. When the generous Saint Nicolas heard of the girls’ predicament, he rode his white horse past their house, in the dead of night on Christmas Eve and tossed little pouches of gold coins into the chimney. By chance they fell into the stockings hung to dry and were found Christmas morning.

Thus began the Christmas Stocking tradition. The legend of Saint Nicolas made it’s way to Holland where he became Sinterklaas  leaving treats in wooden shoes. Eventually the legend hit North America where he became Santa Claus filling stockings with presents.

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  1. Nice history piece on the stockings. Wonder what fabric they were then?

  2. Thanks for the nice comment. I think these hose were made of linen at the time. They were baggy and needed garters to stay up.
    Still quite cute!


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