Is it me or are stockings getting bigger?!! I went to check the kiddies Christmas stockings to see if I needed to get new ones and it struck me how enormous they are compared to the one I had as a child.
It prompted me to wonder about the origin of the Christmas stocking. I discovered that the most popular belief is that a poor widower lived with his three daughters and, due to his poverty, had no way of paying the dowry for any of them to get married.1 One night, after the daughters had washed their stockings they hung them over the fireplace to dry. Saint Nicholas, a 3rd and 4th century bishop in modern-day Turkey known for his anonymous gifts, stopped by the nobleman’s house. He looked in the window and saw the girls’ stockings hung over the chimney to dry. He threw three small bags of gold down the chimney and they landed in the stockings. When the daughters woke up the next morning they discovered the gold in their stockings and each had enough to get married – everyone lived happily after……
Fast forward to today and there is so much choice. From personalised Santa Sacks with your choice of design, to pillowcases to knitted socks. One thing is for sure, the widowers stockings couldn’t have been this big!! A discussion around the office and a comparison of stocking memories put our childhood stockings at around a size 16 shoe – enough to fit a bag of chocolate gold coins, a few little nik naks, typically stationery bits, 50p if Santa was feeling crazy generous and, unanimous to all, a tangerine. So, not wishing to give away our ages, how did the ‘stockings’ get so big in 20 years??!
There have been 2 world records for the worlds biggest stocking within those 20 years, the first record was made by the Children’s Society in London on December 14, 2007. It measured 32.56 m long and 14.97 m wide. It weighed as much as five reindeer and held almost 1,000 presents!
The next, and currently unbeaten record, was a Christmas stocking that measured 51.35m in length and 21.63m in width (heel to toe). It was produced by the volunteer emergency services organisation Pubblica Assistenza Carrara e Sezioni in Carrara, Tuscany, Italy, on 5 January 2011.
Whatever the reason for the increasing size of the stocking, it’s a tradition that definitely could not be missed out in our household so Christmas Stocking, Christmas Sock, Santa Sack or pillowcase is here to stay……I’m just going to have to buy a lot of tangerines!!
2 the Children’s Society