Why We Put Oranges in Christmas Stockings

When you were little, did you find oranges in your stocking on Christmas morning? Then you probably thought about the origins of this unusual tradition at least once. Today we would like to share with you the traditional reason why people put oranges in Christmas stockings.

There are actually several interesting explanations. Read on to learn about the four origins of the beloved Christmas tradition.

Why We Put Oranges in Christmas Stockings

Saint Nicholas and His Gold

According to the first theory, oranges in stockings symbolize sacks of gold. Once Saint Nicholas learned about a poor man that had three daughters. The man couldn’t afford a dowry to find suitors for his girls. Saint Nicholas threw three sacks of gold down the man’s chimney. The gold got into the girls’ stockings drying by the fire.

Christmas During the Great Depression

According to the second theory, this tradition began during the Great Depression. At that time, families could not afford expensive holiday gifts, so finding an orange in your Christmas stocking was a real luxury.

An Exotic Treat

The reason for this tradition may also be that fresh oranges were difficult to get, especially in the northern territories, so discovering this fruit on Christmas morning was a great pleasure.

The Season of Giving

The last theory implies that the holiday season is the time of giving and the orange segments represent sharing what you have with others.

Does your family continue this Christmas tradition? Let us know in the comments section!


Like many people nowadays, I love to explore new places. My favorite type is slow travelling, when you can really blend in with locals and learn about new cultures and languages. But I think there are also perfect times for enjoying freshly baked pastry, a cup of fragrant coffee, and a good movie in the comfort of your own home. I guess I'm kind of a cultural omnivore, and I watch different types of movies, but the ones about art and food inspire me the most!

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