Winters have approached and it is time for the much awaited celebration of the year- Christmas! Soon there will be an echo of Christmas carols in the atmosphere, houses will be decorated with wreaths and tall Christmas trees with beautiful lightings will be seen all around. This time of merriment will be incomplete without the sight, the mention and the excitement of Christmas stockings.
It will surprise many people today, that Christmas stockings and the reception of gifts is so old that it is difficult to settle for a fixed date for the tradition’s origin. Ever since the festival has been celebrated not just children but even adults have received gifts from their loved ones on behalf of St. Nicholas in Christmas stockings. As the newspapers and historians report, it was only in the 1800s that Christmas stockings were superseded by anything. These were the Christmas trees, under which people started keeping beautifully wrapped gift boxes. However, Christmas stockings did not take a back seat for long and now both the Christmas trees and stockings serve as the places to keep gifts.
The origins and the date of the legend behind Christmas stockings have not been discovered yet. The legend however has popularly remained that of a widowed man who had three daughters. Impoverishment had got him worried about the possibility of the wedding of his daughters. It is believed that St. Nicholas had overheard the town’s people about the family’s distress. As a consequence, St. Nicholas instead of offering charity directly, climbed down the family’s chimney, kept gold coins in the recently washed stockings of the girl and disappeared in the night solving the troubles of the miserable family.
The system of filling Christmas stockings is linked with the legends associated with the tradition. To continue the spirit of the story of St. Nicholas, people out of faith believe the best way to symbolize the legend’s gold coins are oranges. For oranges round in shape and orange in colour, come closest to appear like gold coins. There are several people who think keeping oranges in Christmas stockings is precious since it is difficult to find oranges in such harsh winters with cities covered with snow, making them equally rare and precious as the gold coins.
The way of filling Christmas stockings has undergone transformations with several fancy candies, chocolates, toys, muffins, etc. becoming favourites of children. This is why parents go for the attractions loved by the modern day children instead of keeping oranges.
Christmas stockings being in demand are available in various patterns and designs. While some people like to buy the traditional red and white stockings, others go for vintage stockings. Markets during Christmas are flooded with several other styles.
Christmas gives the chance to the people to use their creativities not just in the Christmas tree decorations but also while putting up their stockings. Many children and even adults prefer to buy simple stockings and they decorate it with patch works of Christmas symbols, tinsels and stars. Bags are also cut out in the shape of a foot to form huge Christmas stockings to let big goodies coming in as their gifts. Owing to the numerous things that can be done with stockings, everyone brings out his or her own special way of decorating their stockings.