Some say the Dutch introduced the custom to America. During the 16th century, children in Holland would leave their clogs filled with straw for Santa's reindeer by the hearth. In exchange for a treat left for Santa, "Sinterclass" would leave treats for the children. The clogs later became stockings.
According to Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia, the tradition started in Germany. The traditional practice was to reserve the stocking for five gifts that stimulate each of the five senses, for example:
- Something to eat, like fruit or candy.
- A toy or other item that makes a noise (this can even include nuts to crack).
- An item that is visually pleasing in any way such as jewelry, cuff-links or a coloring book.
- Something that has tactile appeal such as modeling clay, a soft toy, lingerie or a pair of novelty holiday socks.
- Any item with a distinctive scent such as bubble-bath, cologne, perfume, etc.
By tradition, the stocking is hung on the fireplace, but since many modern homes do not have fireplaces, stockings may be hung in almost any location. Originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas and holiday stockings were created for this purpose. Today, stores carry a tremendous variety of styles and sizes of holiday stockings, from small and conservative, to long and stretchy, to gigantic. Many families create their own holiday stockings with each family member's name applied to the stocking so that Santa (or the family members) aren't confused about which stocking belongs to which family member.
A correction is needed for last week's hot chocolate mix recipe. To mix per cup of hot water, add one-fourth cup of mix. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682.