Christmas Traditions: Stockings (270-343 AD)

My mantle last year.

This is fifth in a series of 12 posts on historical Christmas traditions. I didn’t note my sources, but please trust I did verify the information.

Did you know that hanging your stockings by the chimney with care actually ties into the story of St. Nicholas? Legend says the original St. Nicholas, a bishop in Myra, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire, was known for his generosity to the poor. One day, he found out about an impoverished widower who could not afford to provide a dowry for his three daughters, who likely would be forced into prostitution. Worried about the girls, but not wanting witnesses, he waited until dark and either tossed a bag of gold through the window for three nights (one for each daughter) or dropped some gold coins down the chimney, which landed in the girl’s stockings which were hung by the fireplace to dry. That is why we fill ours with gifts.

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day and/or do stockings by the fire?

St. Nick’s day is my name day, and to this day my parents still give me a stocking on December 6. And I’m almost 40! I put up stockings but my family stopped filling them years ago.