1994 29¢ Stocking
Issue Date: October 20, 1994
City: Harmony, MN
Printed By: Ashton-Potter USA, Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Hanging stockings by the fireplace became a custom in the early days of eighteenth-century England. When the English took over the colony of New Amsterdam (which later became New York), the Dutch colonists adopted the custom, since wooden shoes were no longer worn in the new colony. Long, heavy, woolen stockings however, were worn by both boys and girls and so on Saint Nicholas Eve, these were hung upon the mantle instead.
Because they stretched, these stockings could hold lots of surprises. Filled with small presents, candy, and fruit they became mysterious-looking, bumpy objects. A new coin was always placed in the toe, followed by an orange – the first a symbol of wealth, the second a symbol of the return of the sun in the coming year. If a child were naughty, he might find coal in his stocking instead.
Eventually special Christmas stockings were made. Cut from brightly colored material, they were often trimmed with braid or ribbon, and decorated with sequins, cut-out trees and stars, tiny sleigh bells, and tufts of cotton to represent snow. Each child would have his own stocking, which was put away each year to be used the following Christmas.