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Christmas is just around the corner and it's time to get creative with our mini Christmas Stocking sewing pattern. Not only are these adorable stockings fun to make, but they're also a great way to use up your fabric scraps and will make the perfect little stockings for your teddy bear too!
Have you ever wondered why we hang up stockings by the fireplace each Christmas? The history of Christmas stockings is steeped in folklore and mythology, with origins tracing back to ancient times. Let's delve into the popular myths and stories surrounding these festive accessories.
Ancient Roots: The origin of the Christmas stocking is believed to date back to the 4th century when folklore has it that a kindly bishop named St. Nicholas was staying with a nobleman who had been recently widowed. After the death of his wife, the nobleman had lost his fortune and could not afford a dowry for his three daughters. Without a dowry, his daughters would be unable to marry and would be forced into a life of hardship. Knowing that the man would not accept charity, St. Nicholas is said to have left the house after dark and turning back towards the building, he threw three bags of gold coins down the chimney. The bags of gold fell into three stockings that were hanging to dry by the fireplace. Upon waking the next morning, the daughters were overjoyed to find the gift, knowing that this would allow them to marry and save them from destitution.
This act of kindness led to children hanging out stockings by the fireplace in the hope of receiving a gift from St. Nicholas.
Norse Mythology: Delving deeper into history, some people claim that the Christmas stocking custom is derived from Norse mythology and the legend of Odin. According to this folk story, children would place their boots, filled with carrots, straw or sugar near the chimney for Odin’s flying horse, Sleipnir to eat. Odin would then reward those children for their kindness with gifts or sweets.
The Evolution in Europe: The Christmas stocking tradition further developed in Europe during the medieval period. In countries like Germany and the Netherlands, children would place their boots by the hearth, hoping to find them filled with goodies come Christmas morning. Over time, this custom spread throughout the rest of Europe, adapting to various cultural practices and regional folklore.
The American Influence: The Christmas stocking tradition made its way to America in the 1800's, carried over by European immigrants. Here, the story of St. Nicholas evolved into the iconic figure of Santa Claus, and the act of hanging stockings gained popularity.
While the classic image of stockings hanging by the fireplace still endures, stockings now find their place on Christmas tees, banisters, bedposts, and even as part of festive wall decor.