On Christmas morning millions of people around the world wake up and run to see if Santa Claus has left anything in their stockings hung by the fireplace next to the Christmas tree. For many the Christmas stocking is an essential part of the morning, starting off the day with a fun 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 citrus 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.
The Christmas stocking tradition is one that my family always partakes in, along with placing a candy cane in the stocking.
1. Saint 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 bags of 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.
Today many little boys and girls find stocking stuffers like clementines, fresh oranges, and tangerines that look like gold balls in their stockings. The Christmas tradition is also an easy way to give the kids a snack before the holiday meal.
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.