The Tradition of Christmas Stockings

Hanging stockings by the fire to be filled with "stocking stuffers" is one of the oldest traditions associated with Saint Nick.

The story goes that an old nobleman lost his wife and shortly thereafter fell into complete poverty, leaving him unable to provide for his three young daughters. The family lost their home and was forced to live in a humble shack, so poor had they become.

When the time came for his daughters to marry, he had nothing to give them for their dowries. Without dowries they would never be able to find a husband and start families of their own, and for this the old man was heavy with sorrow.

So it happened that one night after the old man's daughters had washed their clothes, they hung their stockings by the fire to dry.

Saint Nicholas stopped by their shack that night, knowing of the despair of the old man. Seeing the girls' stockings hung by the fire, he slipped a pouch of gold in each one, thereby providing the dowry for each of the girls to be married and bringing great joy to the house.

And so, the tradition of receiving gifts in stockings by the fireplace was born!

Christmas in Literature

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are among the best books to be read and enjoyed during the Christmas season.

One of the most memorable scenes in this much-beloved series of children's books can be found in book two, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, when the three children meet Santa Claus himself in the land of Narnia!

The jolly old man has just returned from a prolonged absence, banished by the evil White Witch a hundred years earlier. He gives the children the first Christmas presents in Narnia since the witch's arrival, as the spell cast upon the land of eternal winter begins to break.

There's nothing better than sitting around the Christmas tree and curling up with a good book, is there?

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Gingerbread House- Part I

By Whitney Weatherby

Sarah Stewart and her mother were baking cookies in their kitchen. The house smelled of gingerbread and whipped sugar icing. Jeremy sat at the dining table sneaking gum drops from a crystal bowl whenever his mother turned toward the stove. They were preparing for Christmas, baking the pieces for gingerbread houses (and eating them).

Jeremy was doing his best to dismantle the festivities; as an eleven year-old, he had become too “grown-up” for such silliness as gingerbread houses. He hopped up as he heard the garage door open. He grabbed a bag of frosting and piped a large glob in his mouth as he ran past his sister.

“Jeremy, you’re eating the glue!” Sarah protested. He stuck his white, frosting covered tongue toward her in a mocking retort and smiled, his lips turned chalky with the pasty sugar.

“Your sister’s right, Jeremy, you shouldn’t be eating that. We need all we made for the rest of the gingerbread houses,” their mother said without looking up from the piping hot tray of gingerbread. She was sliding them off with a thin plastic spatula. She glanced at her watch; it was 10 o’clock the night before Christmas. But it was noisy in the Stewart house. Howard Stewart was just getting home from work.

Jeremy crashed into his father as the door from the garage creaked open. His briefcase hit the floor and burst open, papers littering the sun-baked tiles of the kitchen floor.

“Jeremy, can’t you be more careful? This is very important paperwork!” Howard scolded as he knelt down and brushed the papers into a messy pile. “This is going to cost me another hour just to sort out your mess.”

“Howard, lighten up?” Caroline asked in her bouncing British lilt. “It’s Christmas Eve!” She looked at him pleadingly, and turned to her son who had backed into the corner and stood sulking.

“Carol, now is not the time. I’ll be lucky if I can go to bed before tomorrow. I’m going to my office. Please don’t disturb me. I’ll see you in the morning,” he tossed a disappointed glare at Jeremy. Howard stormed into his study, one arm full of loosely stacked papers, the other was extended, holding his open briefcase. Sarah licked her fingers and looked at the floor.

“I hate Christmas,” Jeremy mumbled as he scuffed his slippers along the tile and up the Oriental rug on the back stairs of their New Hampshire cabin. Sarah’s eyes welled with tears as she looked pitifully up at her mother. Carol reached out and gave her a hug.

“He doesn’t mean it,” she said as Sarah nuzzled her damp pink cheeks into her soft pink bathrobe with numbered sheep.

Part II coming soon...

A Holiday Classic

The Snowman, a short animated film based on a book by Raymond Briggs, is a Christmas memory waiting to happen.

If you or your children haven't seen this movie yet, this is the perfect season to experience it for the first time.

The movie has no words, only music, and vibrant, pulsing scenery like a moving watercolor painting, or the northern lights.

In the film, a young English boy wakes up on Christmas Eve to find that it has snowed. He spends the day building a snowman, which comes to life later that night, taking him on a magical flying journey to the North Pole.

This is a must-see film, and one that you and your children will cherish and enjoy at Christmas time each year.

The Snowman

The Start of the Season

The Christmas Season traditionally begins the day after Thanksgiving. This is the time when many people begin to put candles in the windows and Christmas lights on the house, and millions get a jump on their holiday shopping.

Check back here at the Old Time Christmas blog for daily Christmas news, stories, gift ideas, recipes and reminiscences!