The answer to the question, why do we hang Christmas stockings, is lost to history but legends attempt to tell the story.
We all know how the story goes; “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…” But have you ever wondered exactly why do we hang Christmas stockings?
There are actually no written records regarding the origin of the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings, there are only folk legends. One of the more popular legends says that a very poor man had three beautiful daughters, and because he had no money to find them husbands, he worried about what would happen to them after he died. Saint Nicholas (known for secret gift-giving) was traveling through the village and heard about the three girls and wanted to help them. He knew the poor man wouldn’t accept charity so in the middle of the night he threw three bags of gold into an open window of the house, and one landed inside a stocking. Another version says that Saint Nicholas put them directly into three stockings, which had been hung by the fire to dry.
This legend led to the practice of children in European countries putting out shoes or stockings, waiting for Saint Nicholas to leave them a gift. The idea eventually spread and rather than leaving out everyday shoes or socks, special stockings specifically for Christmas started being made. Over time, the idea of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, leaving coal in the stockings of naughty children became a part of the tradition.
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