The stockings are hung.
Just like in the famous Christmas poem, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore.
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.”
Even though our three offspring are all adults over 30, Papa and I fill stockings with little essentials and yummy treats when they all come home for Christmas. It’s fun for us and likewise for them to dump out their stockings and feel like a little kid on Christmas morning again.
This year, only two stockings hang on our mantle – one for Little One and one for Middle Daughter – since the others will not be celebrating with us this year.
As I cozy up on our family room love seat these chilly winter nights leading up to Christmas and catch a Hallmark movie on TV, my eyes are drawn to the fireplace mantle where those two stockings hang.
Stockings. Why do we have this tradition of hanging socks for Santa Claus to fill on Christmas Eve?
The popular legend describes a poor widowed father of three girls worried that because his girls would have no dowry, they would not be chosen for marriage even though they were beautiful girls.
Saint Nicholas happened through the widower’s town and heard this sad tale and decided to help them anonymously. So he slid down the family’s chimney one night to leave gold coins for them.
Finding the girls’ stockings hung up to dry on the chimney, he filled them with the coins. So every Christmas Eve, children began hanging stockings up for St. Nick to fill.
A lovely little legend, isn’t it? When I read it in numerous sources, I began reminiscing about my own childhood Christmas stocking.
As a child in the 50’s and early 60’s, I always hung the same red felt stocking with the words “Merry Christmas” printed in white in hopes of finding goodies inside on Christmas morning. “Santa” always filled it with the same kind of items, yet I was thrilled to empty my sock to find them.
A juicy orange, a shiny Red Delicious apple, some walnuts in their shells, candy canes, assorted Christmas candy, maybe a small trinket toy, and one other item in particular – chocolate ‘coins’ wrapped in gold foil.
When my own three were young, they too received an orange, Christmas candy, and assorted little toys or trinkets in their stockings. And one more thing – chocolate ‘coins’ wrapped in gold foil.
Every year, I managed to find little net bags filled with the coins to include in my little ones’ stockings just like my childhood stocking held once upon a time.
I continued this tradition until my three became adults. However, I never knew the significance of those little chocolate treats until I read about the legend of St. Nick filling stockings with gold coins.
The memories of Christmases long past still swirl through my mind and I enjoy the traditions that the holiday brings, just like those little gold foil wrapped chocolate coins in the stockings.
But as I ponder the true meaning of Christmas, the joy that filled the world at the news of a heavenly King born on that day, I have to pause for a moment to be thankful.
Thankful for a Savior. Thankful for the freedom to celebrate Christmas because of that tiny babe born in a manger. Thankful for family. Thankful for traditions that have meaning.
And yes, even thankful for filled Christmas stockings. But even more so, thankful for the legs that fill our socks.
“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” ~ G.K. Chesterton