Monday, December 16, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there......

Hanging Christmas stockings by the fire was a tradition that developed in various countries throughout the centuries.  The custom is originally derived from the Germanic/Scandinavian figure Odin who was part of Norse Mythology.  Children would place their boots filled with carrots, straw or sugar near the chimney for Odin's flying horse Sleipin, to eat.  Dating back to the 16th century in Holland, children use to leave their clogs filled with hay for the reindeer of St. Nicholas.  He in turn would leave them candy or other treats.  At some point, clogs were replaced with stockings that would naturally hang by the fireplace to dry in the wet winter weather.  

There is also a popular legend about a man who lived in a village with his three daughters. He was poor and could not afford the dowries needed to allow his daughters to marry.  Then one night, St. Nicholas heard of the man’s despair and filled their stockings hanging by the fire with gold.  When the family woke the next day, the girls could marry and they all lived happily ever after. 

Personally, I like the tradition of children leaving clogs by the fire.  It’s simple and sweet. I also  love all of the pretty natural stockings that are out today. People are so creative!

For many of us, the earliest recollection of hanging Christmas stockings comes from the poem above  'A Visit From St. Nicholas’ and the famous line “the stockings were hung by the chimney with care in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there’,  written in 1823 by Clement Clarke Moore.  Stockings use to have fruit, nuts and candies in them.  We pretty much keep to that tradition, but also add a few other goodies.  My brother use to keep the orange found at the bottom of his stocking all year long.  By the end of the year, the orange became petrified!  

I am working on some new projects for the New Year and can’t wait to show you.  For now, I’m having fun with the holidays.   Enjoy these sweet natural homemade stockings found in various places.

These were stockings made from grain sacks.  

This picture from "Yours, Mine and Ours" below....made me laugh.  Can you imagine?

Thanks for reading.