Christmas excitement is mounting here on the farm – the radio is playing Christmas tunes, the mince pie tin has been opened and we’re thinking about what to fill stockings with come Christmas Eve.
For children and grown-ups alike, opening your stocking on Christmas Day morning can be one of the most magical moments of Christmas. But do you know where the tradition comes from? The Summerdown team thought we’d find out, and also look at some other interesting stocking factoids for you to share around the table on Christmas day!
The history of the Christmas stocking
There are numerous legends dating back as far as the 12th century, but our two favourites;
– French nuns inspired by the legend of St Nicholas (who gave gold to the poor) began leaving stockings full of fruit, including tangerines, and nuts at the houses of poor people.
– An impoverished Dutch father had three very beautiful daughters but worried because he had no money for his daughters to marry. One day Saint Nicholas heard the villagers talking about the girls and decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landed in a stocking. The girls and their father awoke the next morning delighted to find the gold.
It is likely that the notion of the Christmas stocking and Father Christmas in Britain is quite a new one, starting in the reign of Queen Victoria in 1837. Father Christmas was originally part of an old English midwinter festival, normally dressed in green. The stories of St. Nicholas (Sinter Klaas in Holland) came via Dutch settlers to America in the 17th Century and only became known in Britain as Santa Claus in the 1870s. With him came story of the reindeer and the sleigh.
For those with inquisitive children/Grandchildren, here’s an interesting fact in case you get asked the tricky question; US scientists calculated that Father Christmas would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve, travelling at 650 miles a second.
The largest ever stocking measured 56 m (106 ft 9 in) long and 14.97 m (49 ft 1 in) wide and was made by the Children’s Society (UK) in London, UK on 14 December 2007.
Here at Summerdown, we have some brilliant stocking fillers starting at just £4.60 for a box of our Great Taste Award winning pyramid peppermint tea or our luxurious soap at just £5. Our relaxing bath soak is perfect for anyone who loves to be pampered and our best selling peppermint creams will delight any foodie. We’ve a wide selection of unique and original gifts, all made with our distinctive peppermint oil, grown and distilled on our family farm in Hampshire.
We hope Father Christmas brings you some nice surprises!