Christmas celebrations vary greatly around the world….
Here are a few of our personal experiences…
Christmas in Australia is often very hot. Whereas the northern hemisphere is in the middle of winter, Australians are baking in summer heat. It is not unusual to have Christmas Day well into the mid 30 degrees Celsius, or near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Santa can be seen on the beaches and in shorts.
A traditional meal includes a turkey dinner, with ham, and pork. A flaming Christmas plum pudding is added for dessert. In the Australian gold rushes, Christmas puddings often contained a gold nugget. Today a small favor or silver coin is baked inside. Whoever finds this knows s/he will enjoy good luck. Another treat is Mince Pies.
Some Australians and particularly tourists often have their Christmas dinner at midday on a local beach, Bondi Beach in Sydney attracts thousands of people on Christmas Day. Other families enjoy their day by having a picnic. If they are at home, the day is punctuated by swimming in a pool, playing Cricket out the backyard, and other outdoor activities.
The warm weather allows Australians to enjoy a tradition which commenced in 1937. Carols by Candlelight is held every year on Christmas Eve, where tens of thousands of people gather in the city of Melbourne to sing their favorite Christmas songs. The evening is lit by as many candles singing under a clean cut night sky. The sky with its Southern Cross stars is like a mirror. Sydney and the other capital cities also enjoy Carols in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Australians surround themselves with Christmas Bush, a native plant which has little red flowered leaves.
Christmas shopping is often done in shorts and t-shirts. At many beaches Santa Claus arrives on a surfboard, or even on a surf lifesaving boat. He wears swimming trunks and sunglasses.
Officially there is no religion in China, however, some Christian children of China decorate trees with colorful ornaments. These ornaments are made from paper in the shapes of flowers, chains and lanterns. They also hang muslin stockings hoping that Christmas Old Man will fill them with gifts and treats.
The Chinese Christmas trees are called “Trees of Light.” Santa Claus is called Sheng Dan Lao Ren which means “Christmas Old Man.”.
The non-Christian Chinese call this season the Spring Festival (usually in January or February) and celebrate with many festivities that include meals and pay respects to their ancestors. Spring Festival actually begins on the eve of the lunar New Year’s Day and ends on the fifth day of the first month of the lunar calendar. But the 15th of the first month, which normally is called the Lantern Festival, means the official end of the Spring Festival in many parts of the country.
The children are the main focus of these celebrations, they receive new clothes and toys, eat delectable food and watch firecrackers displays.
Preparations for the New Year begin the last few days of the last moon, when houses are thoroughly cleaned, debts repaid, hair cut and new clothes purchased. Houses are festooned with paper scrolls and in many homes, people burn incense at home and in the temples to pay respects to ancestors and ask the gods for good health in the coming months.
“Guo Nian,” meaning “passing the year,” is the common term among the Chinese people for celebrating the Spring Festival. It actually means greeting the new year. At midnight at the turn of the old and new year, people used to let off fire-crackers which serve to drive away the evil spirits and to greet the arrival of the new year. In an instant the whole city would be engulfed in the deafening noise of the firecrackers.
On New Year’s Eve, all the members of families come together to feast. Jiaozi, a steamed dumpling, is popular in the north, while southerners favor a sticky sweet glutinous rice pudding called nian gao.
Adults receive “13th month” bonuses in special red envelopes (hóng bā). These packets are passed out during the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, from married couples or the elderly to unmarried juniors. It is common for adults to give red packets to children. Red packets always contain money, usually varying from a couple of dollars to several hundred. The amount of money in the red packets should be of even numbers, as odd numbers are associated with cash given during funerals. Since the number 4 is considered bad luck, money in the red envelopes never adds up to $4. However, the number 8 is considered lucky.
In England the hustle and bustle of the season begins well before Christmas and there is barely anytime for a break until the Twelfth night. There is preparation going on of foods, the sending of Christmas cards, the decorating of houses and churches, and the readying of gifts keep everyone busy even the youngest family members.
The English enjoy beautiful Christmas music. They love to decorate Christmas Trees and hang up evergreen branches, a tradition adopted from Germany during Queen Victoria’s reign and the branches are mistletoe and holly for symbolic reasons. Britain was the first country to hang up mistletoe.
The gift giver is called Father Christmas. He wears a long red or green robe, and leaves presents in stockings on Christmas Eve. Christmas stockings filled with gifts from Father Christmas are usually opened early morning. However, the gifts from friends and family placed under the Christmas tree are not usually opened until later in the day. Father Christmas delivers them during the night before Christmas. The Children leave an empty stocking or pillowcase hanging at the end of the bed. In the morning they hope it will be full of presents.
The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day because boys used to go round collecting money in clay boxes. When the boxes were full, they broke these alms boxes in church and distributing the money collected amongst the poor in the parish.
Christmas dinner was usually eaten at Midday on December 25, during daylight. The table gleams with the best china and glassware, and at every place on the table there is a cracker. The meal begins with a toast, followed by the popping of the crackers. The traditional Christmas dinner is typically 2 roasted meats 1 being either goose (traditional) or turkey (american) covered in bacon and stuffed with sausagemeat, the other meat being a gammon. A variety of seasonal vegetables but essential are roast potatoes and brussel sprouts and always kilted sausages (also called sausages in blankets). For dessert Christmas pudding with brandy butter or brandy custard / cream, the pudding is so rich in alcohol that it is usually ignited before serving. The Plum pudding is served with little treasures hidden inside that bring their finders good luck. Mince pies not only contain dried fruit but also suet and brandy. Christmas cake is also eaten and is traditionally made a couple of months (end of September) before. After the meal they sit down in front of the Television for the traditional Christmas speech of the British Monarch.
Santa Claus was born in US in the 1860’s he was named this as he had a white beard and a belly, so he was named Santa Claus as this was the Dutch word for St Nicholas, Sintaklaas. Although the Dutch had bought him with them in the 17th century, he did not become an important person at Christmas until the Novelist Washington Irving put him in a novel that he wrote in 1809. This first Santa Claus was still known as St. Nicholas, he did smoke a pipe, and fly around in a wagon without any reindeer, but he did not have his red suit or live at the North Pole, he did however bring presents to children every year.
In 1863 He was given the name Santa Claus and bore the red suit, pipe, and his reindeer and sleigh.
In America the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit.
The majority of Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts and greetings and with family visits. For many, the day begins on Christmas Eve with the Midnight Mass. At Christmas it snows in many states, so dinner is usually eaten indoors. Dinner usually is roast turkey, goose, duck or ham served with cranberry sauce, then plum pudding or pumpkin pie followed by nuts and fruit.
American homes are decorated with holly, mistletoe and branches of trees, most have a Christmas tree hung with electric lights, tinsel, baubles, and strings of popcorn and candy canes.
In Quebec they display Crèches or nativity scenes in their homes as the Christmas decorations. After attending midnight mass, families may be served tourtiere or pork pie. Another favorite food is Boulettes or small meatballs. A Christmas banquet is called a reveillon.
In British Columbia Christmas turkey may be accompanied by either fresh or smoked salmon.
In Canada the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit.
Greetings in Foreign Languages
|Afrikander||Een Plesierige Kerfees|
|African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja
|Armenian||Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand|
||Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun|
||Selamat Hari Natal|
||Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!|
||Shuvo Naba Barsha|
||(BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina|
||Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat|
||Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo|
||Bon Nadal i un Bon Any Nou!|
||圣诞快乐! Shèngdàn kuàilè!|
|Choctaw||Yukpa, Nitak Hollo Chito|
|Columbia||Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo|
||Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth|
||Pace e salute|
||Rot Yikji Dol La Roo|
||Mitho Makosi Kesikansi|
||Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok|
||Christmas-e- Shoma Mobarak|
||Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! or Zalig Kerstfeast|
|Eskimo||(inupik) Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame pivdluaritlo!|
||(Amharic) Melkin Yelidet Beaal|
||Gledhilig jol og eydnurikt nyggjar!|
||Cristmas-e-shoma mobarak bashad|
||Zalig Kerstfeest en Gelukkig nieuw jaar|
||Noflike Krystdagen en in protte Lok en Seine yn it Nije Jier!|
|Gaelic||Nollaig chridheil agus Bliadhna mhath ùr!|
||(Creole) Jwaye Nowel or to Jesus Edo Bri’cho o Rish D’Shato Brichto|
||Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!|
||Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova|
||Shub Naya Baras (good New Year not Merry Christmas)|
|Hausa||Barka da Kirsimatikuma Barka da Sabuwar Shekara!|
||Mele Kalikimaka ame Hauoli Makahiki Hou!|
||Kellemes Karacsonyi unnepeket|
||Selamat Hari Natal|
||Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah|
||Nollaig Shona Dhuit, or Nodlaig mhaith chugnat|
||Ojenyunyat Sungwiyadeson honungradon nagwutut. Ojenyunyat osrasay.|
||Buone Feste Natalizie|
||Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto|
||Sung Tan Chuk Ha|
||souksan van Christmas|
||Natale hilare et Annum Faustum!|
||Prieci’gus Ziemsve’tkus un Laimi’gu Jauno Gadu!|
|Lausitzian||Wjesole hody a strowe nowe leto|
|Low Saxon||Heughliche Winachten un ‘n moi Nijaar|
||Nollick ghennal as blein vie noa|
||Shub Naya Varsh (good New Year not Merry Christmas)|
|Norwegian||God Jul, or Gledelig Jul|
|Occitan||Pulit nadal e bona annado|
|Papua New Guinea||Bikpela hamamas blong dispela Krismas na Nupela yia i go long yu|
||En frehlicher Grischtdaag un en hallich Nei Yaahr!|
||Feliz Navidad y un Venturoso Año Nuevo|
||Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia or Boze Narodzenie|
|Pushto||Christmas Aao Ne-way Kaal Mo Mobarak Sha|
|Rapa-Nui (Easter Island)
||Bellas festas da nadal e bun onn|
||(sursilvan dialect) Legreivlas fiastas da Nadal e bien niev onn!|
|Rumanian||Sarbatori vesele or Craciun fericit|
||Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom|
||La Maunia Le Kilisimasi Ma Le Tausaga Fou|
||Bonu nadale e prosperu annu nou|
||Hristos se rodi|
||Sretan Bozic or Vesele vianoce|
||Nollaig chridheil huibh|
||Subha nath thalak Vewa. Subha Aluth Awrudhak Vewa|
||Vesele Vianoce. A stastlivy Novy Rok|
||Vesele Bozicne Praznike Srecno Novo Leto or Vesel Bozic in srecno Novo leto|
||God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt År|
||Maligayamg Pasko. Masaganang Bagong Taon|
||(Tamizh) Nathar Puthu Varuda Valthukkal (good New Year not Merry Christmas)|
||(Micronesian) Neekiriisimas annim oo iyer seefe feyiyeech!|
||Sawadee Pee Mai or souksan wan Christmas|
||Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun|
||Srozhdestvom Kristovym or Z Rizdvom Hrystovym|
||Naya Saal Mubarak Ho (good New Year not Merry Christmas)|
|Vietnamese||Chuc Mung Giang Sinh|
|Yoruba||E ku odun, e ku iye’dun!|
The origin and meaning behind iconic Christmas symbols
There are many colors associated with Christmas such as the red of holly berries, of Santa Claus or Father Christmas outfit; the green of fir trees; the gold of candles and stars; the whiteness of snowy fields.
|Tree||The custom of the Christmas tree can be traced back to Germany in 700 AD. According to legend, the British monk St. Boniface used an undecorated fir tree in his missionary efforts to convert tribe of Germans. Replacing the oak tree which was sacred to the Druids, St Boniface preached, “Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child”. From then on, Germans began celebrating Christmas with the planting of a fir sapling. Another custom it seems that fir trees were used as Christmas decoration in Alsace in the 16th century. This region now belongs to France but during the 16th century it was German. It is said that in 1539 Christmas trees were being sold in Strasbourg, in Alsace. A play based on Adam and Eve, performed in Strasbourg in 1604, featured a fir tree decorated with apples, candles and candy and called the paradise tree in the Garden of Eden. This tree proved to be so popular that some families put similar trees in their homes. However, it is not until the 19th century that the Christmas tree became popular in Germany. There are accounts of the use of a tree with lights, in the letters and writing of various Germans. It is also featured in paintings and sketches of this period. Christmas Trees are always evergreen trees, because the evergreen tree is the “tree of life”. It stays green all winter, and gives us the feeling of hope. In ancient cultures before Christ was born used to bring them into their homes. Some evergreens can even produce flowers and fruit during the winter, seemed magical to these people. People in Estonia and Latvia used to dress Christmas trees with artificial roses, and then set them on fire. They hoped to encourage an early Spring. In 1834, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert brought the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the Royal family. This tradition then spread through to popular culture in Britain and the rest of the English speaking world. The Duchess of Orleans is said to have introduced the Christmas tree to France.|
The Wreath which is traditionally displayed on the front door of a home during the weeks of Advent and the Christmas season once was a multiple role. The wreath is intertwined with red ribbons which is done to express the festive spirit, while its evergreen leaves were symbolic of the everlasting life promised to the faithful by the birth of Jesus Christ. The circular shape was a reminder of the crown of thorns placed on His head by the Roman soldiers when they ridiculed Him as the ‘king of the Jews’. Another reason for the wreath being used as part of celebrations related to the god Bacchus, whose worshippers were thought to have worn circular ivy crowns. Another practical purpose for the wreath was that the evergreen boughs were believed to protect a home from evil spirits, which were thought to be plentiful during this dark time of the year. During the Middle Ages the red berries of holly were believed to keep witches out of the home; this is why holly became the traditional and lucky evergreen for the wreath-making.
Bells being rung on Christmas morning has been and is done to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. A legend that has been told is that the bells were rung for an hour before midnight on the first Christmas eve, this was said to have been done to warm the forces of darkness of the imminent birth of the Savior. At the stroke of midnight, the peal of the bells changed pitch into a joyous peal. The bells sounding was also for another purpose as well. Just as bells are tolled to announce the death of someone they were also rung to tell the ‘death’ of the Devil which was brought upon by the coming of Jesus Christ. The church bell was also known as ‘the Old Lad’s Passing bell’, ‘Old Lad’ which was said to be a euphemism for Satan. The bells pealing has also been assumed to chase away evil spirits, which are said to be repelled by noise of any kind. There are many types of Christmas bells for the season. They can be heard on Christmas morning, they are used as decoration on Christmas cards as well as on the Christmas tree. Wassailers would use them to announce their presence by ringing them, so did Father Christmas, with jingling bells accompanying his sleigh progress.
The crib, representing the manger in which the baby Jesus Christ was laid after his birth in a stable in Bethlehem, has become a favorite Christmas decoration. It has been used for centuries to bring to life the story of Christmas. Francis of Assisi, who was renowned for his love of animals, instituted the custom of the nativity scene. After receiving permission from the Pope, he erected the first one during the Christmas of 1224 in a cave outside the town of Greccio in Italy. It was not a hand crafted or modren type of crib but a live scene. When people gathered to watch the spectacle. Francis stood in front of the manger and would recite the Gospel relating to the scene; then he would deliver a sermon. Nowadays, nativity scenes with all the figures such as Joseph, Mary and the three wise men along with an ox and an ass, have become popular throughout the Christian world.
|Holly||The evergreen holly symbolizes eternal life. This shrub’s most conspicuous features have long been associated with Jesus Christ. The bright red berries represent the drops of blood He shed on the cross; their color also represented the burning love for God present in the hearts of the faithful. The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns the Roman soldiers placed on Jesus Christ’s head.|
The kissing under the mistletoe was originally a belief that this plant, which stayed green even in winter, could produce and increase sexual power. In a few parts of the world it was regarded as being so potent that it could increase the productivity of the soil, be used as a fertility drug for cattle, and it was also used as a cure for impotence in humans. The Druids believed that the mistletoe’s magic potency extended far beyond just conferring fertility. It was thought to cure almost any disease and was therefore known as ‘all healer’. Sprigs fixed above doorways of homes were said to keep away lightning and many kinds of evil. As the plant had no roots it was believed that it grew from heaven. An old wives tale has it that a girl who had not been kissed under the mistletoe would be barren. Now it is only an excuse to take innocuous liberties.
The poinsettia is named after Joel R. Poinsett, who served as the USA’s first ambassador to Mexico, from 1825-1829. He saw this indigenous plant with large scarlet leaves encircling small, greenish-yellow blossoms, which was the Mexican Christmas flower. He sent specimens back to the USA, where they flourished. A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia became a Christmas flower. A poor peasant girl was anxious to bring a gift in honor of the Virgin Mary to the Christmas Eve service. She had nothing to give so she went with nothing. On the way she met an angel, who told her to pick some weeds. She did this. As by a miracle they were transformed into the bright scarlet ‘flowers’. Ever since poinsettias have been popular decorations for churches and homes during the Christmas festival.
The yule log was a magical source of much-needed fuel for the sun, and subsequently symbolized the sun’s light, warmth and life-giving power. Another story was that the ‘yule’ which supposedly referred to the ale drink at that time. Christians adopted the yule log and it became customary to place it on the hearth on Christmas Eve. It was kept burning there for at least twelve hours, its glow adding extra warmth to the home and enhancing the atmosphere of the festival. Strict rules must be followed in everything pertaining to the log. It can never be purchased it has to be received as a gift, be part of a tree grown on one’s own property or just be picked up. It had to be kindled with a fragment of the previous year’s log which had been specially preserved for this purpose, and its fire was never to be permitted to go out by itself.
The star placed at the very top of the Christmas tree recalls the one seen by the three wise men ‘in the East‘ at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth, the star that ‘went before them till it came and stood over where the young child was‘ Matthew 2:1-12. In many parts of the world today celebration of the Christian holiday has begun with the appearance of the first star on Christmas Eve. To Christians the Christmas star is suppose to express the ideals held out by Jesus, called in the Bible “the bright and morning star.” Stars in general have a special meaning, as they are sharing the heavens, no matter what barriers keep them apart on earth.
The lighting of candles at Christmas originated far back in time when it was part of early sun worship: like bonfires, candles were lit in the depths of winter in an attempt to magically strengthen the weakened sun. The Church tried to stamp this ancient custom out, but, instead it invested the lighting of the candles with a new meaning. Candles were lit so it is said to symbolize the divine light that was believed to illuminate the world. Another tradition is that candles were meant to recall the lights people lit in their windows at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth, so as to let Mary and Joseph know that they would be welcome in their homes. Another association of the lighting of candles was the period in Irish history when the Catholic religion was banned. A Catholic family would signal when it was safe for a priest to come in their home to celebrate Mass by placing a lighted candle in the window. It is in this way Christmas candles are a silent tribute to those people of all faiths, who, have faced persecution and who have remained loyal to their beliefs.
Glittering tinsel is used to decorate the Christmas tree to symbolize light. Light in all forms was thought to be magic enough to ensure that the forces of darkness would not have any power. A Christian legend given for the origins of tinsel is that a poor widow was determined to have a memorable Christmas for her family that all she possessed was a tree. She spent many hours decorating it and finally fell asleep. Later in the night spiders wove webs all over the tree’s branches. As a reward for the widow’s unselfishness, the Christ-child changed the spider webs into shining silver threads. Another legend was that as a child Jesus Christ once decorated a tree. He was assisted by angels whose hair was caught on the branches as they departed, it turned into tinsel.
Apples in some parts of the world are used to decorate trees, stems from the apple’s associations with the Tree of Life in Paradise. According to popular belief, though the Bible never actually says so, this was an apple tree. Baubles are said to be replicas of the fruit. But are mostly just colorful ornaments which contribute to the festive spirit in a home. They also reflect light, which gives a multiplying effect of the candles and lights.
The exchanging of Christmas presents can be traced back to an ancient Roman custom of gift-giving which was practiced at Saturnalia. When the custom was Christianized, it was told that it related to the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh that the Magi had carried with them from the East when they travelled to pay homage to the newborn Jesus Christ.
Ivy had been a symbol of eternal life in pagan religions. The Christians believe it stands for the new promise of eternal life. In England Ivy is considered to be feminine while holly is masculine.
The first Christians in Ancient Rome decorated their homes at the Saturnalia with laurel. Pagan Romans believed laurel was sacred to the sun god Apollo. When Romans became more Christian, laurel became a symbol of Christmas.
|Rosemary||Rosemary was used during the Middle Ages by housewives to spread on the floor at Christmas. As people walked on it, a pleasant aroma arose. Tradition has it that the shrub is fragrant because Mary laid the garments of the Christ Child on its branches. The night he was born, legend has it, the trees suddenly bore fruit and flowers blossomed out of season.|
The Christmas Rose was originally grown in England, and is now native to the mountains of Central Europe, it blooms in the winter. Legends link this flower with the birth of the Christ Child. One legend is that the three wise men along with shepherds were travelling together when they came upon a shepherdess named Madelon who was tending to her sheep. When she saw the gifts for the Christ child she began to weep as they all had gifts for the Christ Child while she had nothing. An angel who saw her crying, brushed the snow away, revealing a lovely white flower tipped with pink – the Christmas Rose.
|Paper Hats||The wearing of colorful paper hats at Christmas parties and festive meals was done due to superstition. It is said that evil forces constantly threatened the sun’s survival. As evil could only be fought with evil, assuming the guise of the devil was therefore thought to drive away any real devils. Masks and hats were an essential part of devil disguises.|
|Cards||The Christmas card was invented by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. It is believed that he was inspired to come up with the Christmas card by examples of valentines days cards, which had been popular in England. As well as it was customary for pupils in English schools to produce Christmas pieces. These usually were large sheets of paper which the pupils decorated with colorful borders and headings, and then inscribed with Christmas greetings in their best copperplate. Cole commissioned artist J.C. Horsley to design the picture for his first card. The picture was based on the common medieval artistic device of a triptych which was a set of three illustrations. The central illustration was a jolly party of adults and children with plenty of food and drink. Underneath the picture was the greeting “Wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you”. Each side panel represented good works such as the clothing of the naked and the feeding of the hungry. His idea did not catch on at the time it was not until about 20 years later that big stationery firms were producing thousands of Christmas cards and Cole’s initial failure had become a tremendous success.|
|Crackers||The crackers date back to the middle of the 19th century and are said to be of French origin. In their earliest form crackers in France were sweets or bon-bons enclosed in twists of colored paper. An English pastry cook by the name of Tom Smith saw these bon-bons while he was visiting Paris. Once he had returned home, he started to copy the idea of the wrapper, but added other small gifts, as well as slips of paper inscribed with jokes, wise sayings or advice concerning the future. Small toys and paper hats were other surprises that were included. Smith’s idea did not catch on at first, but on Christmas night 1846 while sitting by his fireplace he heard the crackling of the logs and came up with the idea of trying to imitate this sound. He did this by inserting a small explosive in the paper tube, which was set off with a bang by pulling from either side. This saw the birth of the popular named ‘cracker’.|
|A fable of old was that St. Nicholas was concerned about three lovely sisters. They lived on the outskirts of the city and were poor and destitute. The saint was determined to save the sisters from a possible of life of prostitution. One night it is told that he dropped three pieces of gold through the smoke-hole. The coins did not fall into the hearth, but fell into the girls stockings, which had been hanging up near the fire to dry. They were elated to find the money in the morning. People have hung up Christmas stockings ever since, hoping to receive a similar surprise.|