The Bishop of Myra, Nicholas was known all over for his benevolence and love for children.
He used to distribute gifts secretly to children on Christmas Eve as a surprise for them. While he was passing a house he heard a father and his daughters lamenting their poverty and how they were unable to be married because they could not provide dowry that was prevalent in those days. Overcome with pity and sympathy, Nicholas observed the woolen stockings of the girls that they had put on the windowsill to dry and secretly placed enough gold pieces in each to provide dowry for the girls.
This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas.
Bishop of Dover, Trevor Willmott, and his message about St. Nicholas and Christmas.
The tradition of Christmas stockings was introduced in America by the Dutch. It is said that in the 16th Century, the children staying in Holland kept their clogs, filled with straw, by the hearth for the reindeer.
At the same time, they placed a treat for 'Sinterklaas' (Santa Claus) near the fireplace in the house. As a return gift, the Sinterklaas used to leave gifts for the children.
With time, the clogs became stockings and Sinterklaas became Santa Claus.
You can read more about St. Nicholas traditions around the world here.
If you celebrate Christmas, do you hang stockings? What type of stockings do you use?
Here is our staircase decorated with stockings!
We have collected our Christmas stockings over the years on our travels.
This is Big Al's stocking and he bought it just after he met the sponge himself at Universal studios!
Mr Attorney's stocking was a gift from our dear American friends from Cleveland.
Maddy bought her stocking at Harrods!
My stocking is from New York. Isn't Minnie looking lovely as Lady Liberty?
Here is one last view of the staircase...
Do you have special Christmas traditions from around your part of the world? I would love to know what you do each year-please share them with us in the comments!
Best Christmas wishes,
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