The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

image of Christmas stockings

With Thanksgiving behind them, the “Can Do” kids were looking forward to the coming Christmas holiday.

it was time for some Christmas activities; so, Miss Pat invited Grandpa Dooley to class to share the Legend of the Christmas Stocking.

The “Can Dos” all knew and liked Grandpa Dooley. They especially liked his storytelling. His booming voice made his storytelling extra special. Willie and Nellie were always so proud to have their grandpa tell stories to the class.

Grandpa Dooley cleared his throat and began. “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Everyone knows this poem. But, do you know who wrote it?” Not even Orrie had the answer, and he has most answers.

Grandpa Dooley continued with his storytelling. “As far back as 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” stockings were being hung near the fireplace, awaiting a visit from Santa Claus. At the end of the poem, St. Nick “fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,/And laying his finger aside of his nose/And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.”

But where did this legend, this practice of hanging Christmas stockings, come from?

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:

Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after he wasn’t around to take care of them.  Passing through town, St. Nicholas heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags, which contained gold, through an open window. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member’s name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.”

Grandpa Dooley put the paper down that he was reading from and looked at the class. “Now it is your turn to speak. Tell me about your Christmas stocking traditions.”

Hand shot up and each “Can Do” waited politely to be called to share about their Christmas stockings.

 Sources information: Wikipedia – description of the history of the Christmas stocking.

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