Today I hung a stocking on my door. I was looking to hang a wreath, but when I found this stocking, I knew it would be an unusual twist on tradition. Plus, I am curious to see if the stocking will create a story of its own.
My mom always insisted on putting an orange in the bottom of our stockings. We would start first with the stockings on Christmas morning, tearing through the little bonus gifts the stockings held. We could always depend on a pair of new socks, and a bit of candy, or candy cane, and always at the bottom was the Christmas orange. I admit, not really understanding the importance of the orange, we kids always rolled our eyes. I imagine that may have hurt my moms feelings a tiny bit. Yet always, year after year, there it was, that simple round orange at the bottom of our stocking.
As I grew older and my sisters and I moved away from each other, the one tradition we continued was the stockings. We called them Stuffers. We gave each other a variety of small gifts. Sometimes we were lucky enough to be together to open them, and sometimes we had to mail them off to each other, but we depended on our 'stuffers'.
As I hung my stocking today on the front door, I immediately had the urge to pop an orange into it, so I did. I hope if someone visits me and I am not here to answer, they will know to reach in the stocking and help themselves to that orange at the bottom.
So today's stocking got me thinking about the tale behind the Christmas orange and why Mom actually put one in our stocking. My parents were born during the depression so I imagine it may have been possible that receiving an orange on Christmas day was a real privilege and a very special treat. Often fruit was scarce and I imagine the smell of an orange on Christmas day had to be enticing.
One tale shared that Father Christmas loaded his sleigh with presents and forgot the oranges. He heard Mother Chrismas call after him, 'you've forgotten the Chrismas Oranges.' She threw them into the air and he caught some and the others fell away. Today, those oranges he never managed to catch have become enormous orange sunsets setting in the December Sky.
It's also a possibility that these oranges represented gold coins. Other stories mentioned orphans sharing oranges with each other. Plus, I found this mini-movie shot in Manitoba. It's rather curious, somewhat corny, yet heartwarming. One person portrays all of the main adult characters. Of course, the true star is the orange.
So drop by, you'll find an orange in the stocking on the door for you. Take something, or leave something, its all in the spirit of giving. I believe the true beauty this little round fruit represents, aside from the sunsets and coins of gold, lies within its burst of fragrance and the tiny segments that when divided are still whole, and are easily shared.