The moment one begins to think of the various things required for the celebration of Christmas many things flash across one’s mind. First and foremost there is the Christmas tree then there are the trimmings for the tree like tinsel balls, models of archangels, little shiny stars and lights and mistletoe for the house. One also uses candy canes and other Christmas plants for decorating purposes as well. Children think of Santa and his sack of goodies and presents. Then there is the Snowman and the reindeers. There is also one other thing which people also associate with Christmas, especially children, the Christmas stockings. Every year they are put to use in each house at the time of Christmas. Children share a particular bonding with it. Let us find out what the bond is and how it was fostered.
What is a Christmas stocking and what is its purpose?
The Christmas stocking is just like any other everyday stocking though it is used for a completely different purpose. Children hang the stockings near the fireplace hoping that on the next morning that is on Christmas day they will find it piled up with presents left there by Santa Claus. Thus every year children are very enthusiastic about getting their personal stockings. The use of the stockings in the time of Christmas dates back from days ago where there was a tradition amongst the French children to put their shoes which was made of wood. They usually kept it near the fireplace. From then onwards began the tradition of using stockings. These days the stockings are not even kept near the fireplace since fireplaces are hard to come by in the houses of these days. Now, stockings are specially manufactured in the market, which come is various size and shape. Some are brightly colored while others have beautiful motifs on it. There are some families where mothers and grandmothers knit stockings for their children with their name on it.
The use of Christmas stockings around the world
There are still some places which use the shoes in place of stockings. Some children in Holland have a tradition of putting up their shoes. The children usually fill them with a lot of hay and some carrots. They believe it is left for the horses. Some refer to the name of the horse as Sintirklass. There is also a similar tradition of putting up shoes in Hungary as well. They make it a point to clean and polish their shoe before Christmas Eve. In the evening they put the shoes on the window or somewhere from where the shoes can be seen from outside so that Santa Claus can see them and fill them up with presents. Though the Italian children follow the same tradition of using the shoe they do it on Epiphany night which is celebrated on the fifth of January. They believe that a good wish will come and leave presents for them.
There are various uses and traditions of the concept of Christmas stockings and shoes too in some cases. However they are all used for the same purpose a container to be filled up with presents!