Myths, Legends and Traditions associated with Fruit – Volume 1 – (Article 1 of 6)Magalies Citrus
by Dr. Marli Botha
A child today would probably be disappointed by the goodies found in the Christmas stockings of the past. Some of the best present-day stocking stuffers may be considered an electronic or game, but in the past, stocking stuffers were more like candies, nuts, and fresh oranges, all of which were considered to be a real treat at the time.
The holiday tradition may have started during the Great Depression, a time when many families couldn’t afford to buy holiday presents and gifted these sweet and hard-to-come-by fruits instead. Waking up on Christmas morning and finding a fresh orange in your stocking was considered a luxury.
There’s also one more piece of history we can thank for this Christmas tradition—the legend of St. Nicholas. The jolly ol’ fellow gave three gold balls to a poor man whose daughters couldn’t marry because he couldn’t afford the dowries, according to Smithsonian.com.
The tale says that St. Nicholas tossed the gold down the man’s chimney, where it ended up in the daughters’ stockings, which were drying by the fire.
Later in history, people began to honour the story and saint by gifting oranges instead of spheres of gold.