‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
Mantles adorned with garland and other holiday trinkets make fireplaces come alive for Christmas. The magic is only enhanced by hanging Christmas stockings, which are just waiting to be filled with goodies for good girls and boys. Those without a fireplace often hang stockings from windowsills or stairway bannisters.
While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas Stocking on fireplace mantles, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. Despite this, many people link the tradition to a tale about St. Nicholas. As that story goes, St. Nicholas was traveling through a village when he overheard a plight of three women. They were poor, and their father could not afford an ample dowry to marry them off. Rather than have them end up spinsters, St. Nicholas secretly tossed bags of coins through a window (or down a chimney, depending on the version of the story), and they were captured in the girls’ stockings hanging to dry by the fire. The family was overjoyed to have received such riches.
Soon the news traveled about the mysterious money in stockings, and other children left out stockings for St. Nicholas to capture their own gifts.
The tradition has transformed over the years, and now many children hang stockings by the chimney with the expectation that the stockings will be filled with gifts from Santa. Traditions once suggested that only gifts from Santa were left in stockings, while gifts placed beneath the tree were from family, but that has since changed. Stockings are now meant to hold small gifts while the larger items are placed under the tree.
Stockings should be hung away from the flames of the fire as a safety precaution. Some parents prefer their kids hang their individual stockings on their bedpost instead of the fireplace mantle.
Hope you enjoyed this brief story about hanging stocking during the holidays. Have a safe and festive holiday season.