How Did the Tradition of Stocking Fillers Gift Ideas Start?
Stockings are one of the most fun and exciting aspects of Christmas for many children and adults alike. A classic Christmas morning with excited children jumping on the beds of sleepy parents at a ridiculously early hour and beginning to open stockings is the perfect start to Christmas for many of us. Everybody wearing Christmas pajamas that they have been allowed to open as a special early present on Christmas Eve is also a fun tradition in some UK households.
If you are looking for a great range of stocking fillers take a look at the Christmas Gifts for Kids section of our website.
The items that fill a Christmas stocking vary widely. If children have been naughty throughout the year it is traditional to leave only coal in their stockings at Christmas, though few people observe this tradition as it would seem rather unkind. Stockings tend to be filled with chocolate, especially gold and silver chocolate coins, selection boxes of chocolate bars, toys, teddy bears, trinkets, gloves and scarves to protect against the winter cold, bathroom products, loving messages and unusual handicraft objects.
While there are no formal, written histories of the origins of the Christmas stocking, popular legends attempt to explain the history of this most cherished Christmas morning practice. A famous story tells of three destitute sisters who could not find husbands because they had no money for a dowry. To avert the terrible fate that they might be sold into slavery by their father, St. Nicholas bestowed presents of gold coins onto the women. One coin fell down the chimney and came to rest in a pair of shoes that were on the hearth, and a second one came through the window and fell into a pair of stockings that had been drying over the fire. This contributed to the practice of children hanging stockings up (or in Scandinavian countries putting out shoes,) for St Nicholas to fill with presents overnight on Christmas Eve.
Other mythical traditions citing Odin, a major god of Norse mythology, refer to the practice of filling Christmas stockings with presents. Boots filled with carrots and sugar for Odin’s magic horses to eat would be left by the fire in the evening, and then Odin would replace the foodstuffs with gifts for the children when he visited overnight. Some UK families now leave mince pies, carrots and milk or beer by the fire as gifts for Santa and his reindeer to eat when he comes down the chimney at night to drop off presents, with enterprising ‘little helpers’ often leaving boot or hoof prints and nibbled bits of food on the hearth for the children to find in the morning.
Christmas stockings themselves were traditionally normal, everyday socks that took on a special significance at Christmas, but now many people have special stockings that are designed for this purpose which can be bought online or on the high street. These special stockings are often named, or designed with the interests of the recipient in mind, to add yet one more touch of personalization to gift giving traditions at Christmas. For many other Christmas present ideas for 2013 see the Paramountzone website, that contains over 600 fun Christmas presents for men, girls and boys.
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