Christmas stockings - The nineteenth door

The Christmas stocking ... to be honest I never wondered before where, when or why this tradition had started. Only when I prepared the post for Saint Nicholas Day and thought of the shoes the children put in front of the door for Saint Nick to fill them, I suddenly saw the possible connection and set out to find out more.
Indeed the legend that Saint Nicholas who had just inherited something secretly dropped three lumps of gold in a poor man's house seems to be the source for both traditions.
The legend's details change a little depending on where you find it. St. Nick threw the gold through the window, he gave gold coins, he went through the chimney himself to drop the gold into the stockings or threw the gold through the chimney and it landed in the stockings hung up there for drying. The result was always the same, the man's three daughters had enough gold to get married.

Stockings have been a part of Christmas for centuries although there was a time they had to fight for its place with the Christmas tree.
Nowadays there is no fight between the stocking and the tree, they both have their place in the Christmas traditions in some countries.
Stockings come in all sizes, patterns and colors. For some historical pictures have a look at this article in the Smithsonian Mag.

Do you have your own Christmas stocking tradition? Maybe you still remember your first stocking? Tell us about it!


  1. "Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care" sums it up for us. Each member of the family has his or her own personalized stocking, including the cats. Everyone participates in filling the stockings with little gifts. Staples include gelt, chocolate bars, batteries (for the presents we'll be getting), lottery tickets and a candy cane. Then any little thing, depending on the person. For example, my daughter will get nail polish and makeup. Our son gets Magic cards. We always unpack the stockings first on Christmas morning, before breakfast (but after coffee for them as drinks it).

    1. Thank you for sharing this! How sweet of you to include the cats, too.
      I hope they don't participate by putting mice into your stockings! ;-)

  2. My family never really did the stocking thing.

    I have seen some gorgeous stockings.

    1. I bet. Maybe I should hang up stockings for the kitties next year ...

  3. The stocking has always been one of my favorite parts of Christmas. In our family, all of the items that went into the stockings were wrapped so we had the fun of unwrapping these little gifts and the anticipation of wondering what we would find. I looked forward to that more than the gifts under the tree!