The Christmas Stocking


One of my favourite Christmas traditions is the stocking. It’s the first thing that you open on Christmas morning. Tiny little presents and candy just for you in your own special stocking that you use each year. Nobody ever takes or wants your stocking, like underwear it is all yours. Each time you reach into the festive sock, it’s a surprise. What’s also surpising is how many things can fit into a stocking, especially if it stretches, like mine.


My Stocking


But where did this delightful custom come from? Who decided that socks were good receptacles for presents?

According to the holiday movie  Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town (1970) hanging stockings by the fire was an everyday occurrence and when Burgermeister Meisterburger outlawed Kris Kringle and his toys, they served as a covert way of delivering the toys to the children of Sombertown.


bluetoesThen you have Bluetoes the Christmas Elf (1988) where stockings began because Small One (aka Bluetoes) the elf was too small to help the other elves and Santa. In this version of events, toys grow on trees at the North Pole. Small One picked toys from the trees that were too small and wouldn’t be ready until next year. Having been scolded, he goes and falls asleep in Santa’s sleigh and wakes up as he is making his deliveries. Santa finds he is short on toys and rushes back (warp speed magic) to the North Pole to get more. Small One who is left behind, thinks that Santa has forgotten the children and remembers the tiny toys in his pockets. Taking off his socks and filling them up, he pops in and hangs them by the chimney for the kids. Santa having returned finds the kids having a great time with their tiny gifts and Small One’s toes are now frostbitten and blue. Santa loves Small One’s idea of tiny toys in stockings, he makes him in charge of that department at the workshop and re-names him Bluetoes.


Or you can go with the legend that is commonly circulated around, where there once was a poor widower who couldn’t afford a dowry for his three daughters to be married. At this stage of the game St. Nicholas wandered around from town to town doing good wherever he could. Hearing of the family’s problems and knowing the man would not accept charity, St. Nicholas put a few gold coins in each of the girls stockings one night as they dried by the fire. When they woke up they had a wonderful surprise and could now afford to find husbands!
No one really knows when this custom started, it is at least as old as the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore (aka Twas the Night Before Christmas), published in 1823. “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…”

However and whenever it came about, I’m glad it did. Charming in it’s simplicity, personal and memory filled, the stocking is one of Christmas’s most treasured traditions.

So, be sure to hang your stockings by the chimney with care tonight, and here’s hoping that  old St. Nick fills them full of goodies!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!



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It’s Poinsettia Day!

What is Christmas decor without the classic Poinsettia plant hanging out in corners and clogging up stairways and adding a festive air to any room?
Even without a physical plant there are fake Poinsettias to decorate with, Poinsettia print fabrics, housewares and fashion accessories. Poinsettias are everywhere at Christmas, and that suits me just fine. They are my favourite holiday flower and most of the time I can keep them alive all through the Christmas season!


Native to Mexico and South America, there are over 100 varieties of Poinsettia. Once only available in red, they now come in many different colours.  The bright hues are created through phototropism, they require 12 hours of darkness at time for at least 5 days in a row to change colour. Which is why they bloom in the shorter winter days.

The coloured “flower” parts of the Poinsettia are actually modified leaves called bracts. The flowers are the yellow centers in the middle of the coloured bracts. Both flowers and bracts are dropped when the flowers have shed their pollen. For the longest lasting plants, choose ones with the least amount of pollen.


Joel Roberts Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico and introduced the Euphorbia pulcherrima to the United States from southern Mexico in 1828. This resulted in this beautiful plant being named after him and thus we have the Poinsettia.
December 12 marks the anniversary of his death and has become Poinsettia Day.


Since it’s introduction as a potted plant it has become the best selling potted plant in Canada and the U.S and has become the most popular Christmas plant sold, worth about $60 million in revenue. 80% of those sales are attributed to women. When growing naturally in the ground, Poinsettias can reach 10-15 ft. in height.

Now after all that, why do we use them, love them, buy them at Christmas?  As good a reason as any is a story about a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to bring to church for the baby Jesus. She picked a bouquet of weeds from the side of the road. Embarrassed of her small gift, her cousin told her that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves Jesus will make Him happy.
Remembering this, she felt better and put her bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene at the altar. Suddenly the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers and everyone was sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on those bright red flowers were known as Flowers of the Holy Night.

Another, simpler reason is that Christmas colours are red and green.
In the 1920’s a horticulturist named Paul Ecke decided that these plants would make a fantastic Christmas flower and started growing them in earnest in fields in what is now known as Hollywood. Later Ecke who became instrumental in the promotion of Poinsettias moved south to Encinitas where now the Paul Ecke Ranch is continuing to grow Poinsettias for our enjoyment.

So, there you have it. Whatever the reason, Poinsettias are the Christmas flower of choice.

May your Christmas be as merry and bright as your biggest Poinsettia and may all your bracts stay in place until New Years.






Links to where I found my info!