Why are there oversized socks hanging on your mantel?

Why are there oversized socks hanging on your mantel?
According to a very old tradition, the original Saint Nicholas (see the section on Santa) left his very first gifts of gold coins in the stockings of three poor girls who needed the money for their wedding dowries. The girls had hung their stockings by the fire to dry. See this page for a version of this story.


Up until lately, it was traditional to receive small items like fruit, nuts and candy in your stocking, but these have been replaced in the last half-century by more expensive gifts in many homes.

According to this page, the tradition of a lump of coal in the stockings of naughty children comes from Italy.



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