Christmas StockingsKids become so excited at Christmas time. To them it is all about hanging up their Christmas stocking, eager to see if Santa will fill them during the night. Tradition is the last thing on their little minds. Where did the idea of hanging a Christmas stocking up come from, do you know?

Origin of the Christmas stocking

It started with hanging up an empty sock shaped bag. The children left it out for Santa to fill it with lots of small little toys and goodies commonly referred to as stocking fillers. These were usually inexpensive items that kept the kids amused for ages. I remember little toys, like a plastic mouse with a rubber band stretched out underneath, it would twist then when you let it go the mouse would appear run across the floor. If the rubber band broke it was just a case of replacing it and winding it around the knuckle part underneath.

Traditionally they say it originated from Nicholas a noble man, he was born in 280 AD near Lycia in Asia Minor. His wealthy parents died from an epidemic. Nicholas became a priest and used his parent's money to help the needy and sick people and dedicated his life to God.

He left his presents after children were asleep to protect his identity. Because of this children were told to go to sleep early or he would not come. Many stories have been told of the legendry Saint Nicholas. One in particular is of a peasant who had three daughters. They used to hang their stockings up each night.

One night St Nicholas left a bag of gold in the first stocking. The father was so pleased because now his older could get married. The next night he left another bag of gold for the second daughter. The peasant father pleased now that his second daughter could get married.

The peasant was so curious, he hid the next night. He had to know who was helping him by leaving this gold. St Nicholas came with his bag of gold and went to the window to leave it. The peasant recognized him at once and fell on his knees before the Bishop, crying and thanking him. Now he was able to see his third daughter married. This could not have happened without the generosity of the bishop. Because of Saint Nicholas the peasant and his three daughters were married and lived happily ever after.

I believe that this is how the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings is said to have started. It is also said that the name Santa stands for Saint, and that Claus is the same as Nicholas.

Since those days children have hung their Christmas stockings up on their chimneys each Christmas eve. They would go to bed early eagerly waiting for Santa to leave his gifts for them.

In recent times

Today children of all ages often create their stockings from all types of materials, using different crafts to decorate them. I remember as a child asking my mum "how was Santa going to get in because we did not have a chimney" She reassured me that he had a special key to the homes of all the good kids so he could leave their presents. This satisfied me for a little bit longer.

Even today, a lot of homes have an image of Santa on top of their chimney or at least of the roof of homes without chimneys.

It is a wonderful thing growing up and counting the days off to the morning when they can open up their beautiful presents. It makes no difference where you live. Christmas day is celebrated with eagerness, and Santa is loved worldwide by all children.

Learn the gift of giving, it will brighten yours and many other lives around you.

Don't forget to hang your stocking. Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year to all.