By Fran Lane

There are no written records of the origin of the Christmas stocking, but there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. There is one legend that has many variations, but this seems to be the definitive story of the Christmas stocking.

Many centuries ago, there lived a poor man with three beautiful daughters. His wife had passed away from some debilitating illness and he had spent all he had trying to cure her. This left him with no money to marry off his daughters. They were very kind and loving and he worried about what would happen to them after his death.

One day, St. Nicholas was passing through the village, when he overheard some villagers talking about the pitiable condition of the three girls. St Nicholas wanted to help the poor father, but he knew the old man wouldn’t accept money from him.

St. Nicholas decided to help the family in secret, without letting anybody else know about it. He waited until it was night and quietly snuck into their house through the chimney. He brought three bags of gold coins with him, one for each girl. As he was looking for a place to put the three bags, he noticed stockings of the three girls that were hung over the mantelpiece to dry. He put a bag in each stocking and then left.

When the girls and their father woke up the next morning, they were thrilled to find the bags of gold coins. He happily married off his daughters, one after the other, and they remained happy for the rest of their lives. The story of St. Nicholas being so generous spread throughout the village and then all over the land. Since then, it has been a tradition to hang stockings on Christmas in the hope that St. Nicholas would bring a present. Merry Christmas~


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