--Clement Clarke Moore, Twas the Night Before Christma
Just where did the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings come from?
The Nobleman and His Daughters
Folklore tells the story a kind nobleman whose wife had died of an illness leaving the nobleman and his three daughters in despair. After losing all his money in useless and bad inventions the family had to move into a peasant's cottage, where the daughters did their own cooking, sewing and cleaning.
When it came time for the daughters to marry, the father became even more depressed as his daughters could not marry without dowries, money and property given to the new husband's family.
One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, knowing the despair of the father, stopped by the nobleman's house. Looking in the window Saint Nicholas saw that the family had gone to bed. He also noticed the daughters' stockings. Inspiration struck Saint Nicholas and he took three small bags of gold from his pouch and threw them one by one down the chimney and they landed in the stockings.
The next morning when the daughters awoke they found their stockings contained enough gold for them to get married. The nobleman was able to see his three daughters marry and he lived a long and happy life.