On Christmas morning millions of people around the world wake up and run to see if Santa has left anything in their stockings hung by the fireplace. For many the Christmas stocking is an essential part of the morning, starting off the day with a fun a festive surprise.
While most stockings are filled with small trinkets and candy, there is one treat that people like to add to their stockings that isn’t candy. In fact it’s a piece of fruit. The origin of adding citrus to Christmas stockings actually stems from a few different sources. We decided to look into three different stories to figure out why we put oranges in our Christmas stockings.
1. St. Nicholas and his gold.
According to the story, St. Nicholas learned of a poor man with three daughters he wanted to marry. However, since the man could not offer a dowry the daughters could not find suitors.
St. Nicholas learned of the man and threw three sacks of gold down the chimney that happened to land in each of the girl’s stockings that were hanging by the fire to dry. It is said that we receive oranges to symbolize the gold that St. Nicholas gave to the three girls.
2. A treat during the Great Depression.
Money was tight in the 1930s so families scraped together anything they had to get a special treat during the holidays. It was considered a luxury to receive an orange in their Christmas stocking, thus the tradition started.
3. Oranges are considered lucky in Asia.
Oranges are native to Southeast Asia and some countries like China believe that oranges bring joy and luck to anyone who eats it. While there isn’t a direct correlation to Asia, oranges and Christmas stockings, there is still a possibility that the oranges have some sort of connection.