5. Stockings

Don’t forget to hang up your stockings (or socks) !

Cartlidge, George; Miss Mary Cartlidge; The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/miss-mary-cartlidge-19748

This young girl darning stockings in front of a cosy fire is Mary Cartlidge, daughter of the Potteries artist, ceramic modeller and decorator, George Cartlidge (1868–1961).

The origin of the popular Christmas tradition of leaving stockings out for Santa (or Father Christmas) is attributed to Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas), a Greek Bishop of Myra in the 3rd or 4th century A.D,  who put gold coins in the stockings of three poor sisters. One night, the girls left their stockings drying over the fireplace. Saint Nicholas knew the family was very poor, so he threw three bags of gold coins down the chimney. The money landed in the sisters’ stockings. Since then, children have hung up their Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve, hoping to find them filled with gifts in the morning.