What do you find in your stocking on Christmas morning? Aside from the requisite candy canes and fun stocking stuffers, I always know there will be an orange resting in the toe of my stocking. What I thought was simply a sweet family tradition actually has a lot more meaning, and it's very interesting.
Our grandfather started the tradition in my family when my mother was young. My mother continued it with me, and my family remembers finding an orange in their stockings at Christmas. We think this would be a great tradition to start with your family. We have only recently learned the origins of this tradition, it is something I've looked forward to every Christmas morning.
We've uncovered several different explanations for how the tradition of placing an orange in stockings came to be.
St. Nicholas and His Sacks Of Gold
One explanation for this tradition stretches back hundreds of years to St. Nicholas, who was born in what is now present-day Turkey. He inherited a large sum of money, but devoted his life to helping others, and eventually became a bishop.
According to the story, St. Nicholas learned of a poor man who wasn't able to find suitors for his three daughters because he didn't have money for a dowry. St. Nicholas traveled to the house, and tossed three sacks of gold down the chimney for each of the dowries. The gold happened to land in each of the girls' stockings which were hanging by the fire to dry. The oranges we receive today are a symbol of the gold that he left in their stockings.
A Treat During the Great Depression
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, money was tight, and many families simply didn't have the means to buy gifts. Instead, it was such a treat, even a luxury, to find things like a sweet orange and some walnuts in your stocking on Christmas.
Oranges Were Once A Scarce Treat
Some also offer the idea that fresh oranges were hard to come by, especially in the north, so finding one of these fruits in your stocking was a huge treat, and a way of celebrating the holiday.
Have you received an orange in your stocking on Christmas morning?
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