Christmas stocking filled with fruit and nuts
The Reason Why Oranges Are One Of The Original Stocking Stuffers
By Aimee Lamoureux
While stockings today are typically filled with small gifts and sweets, placing oranges in children’s stockings was one of the first ways families shared their prosperity on Christmas. The tradition of gifting oranges dates back to the idea of Santa himself, but there were also various societal influences.
The real-life Saint Nicholas once gifted a needy family bags of gold on Christmas by dropping them down the fireplace, where they happened to land inside stockings hung up to dry. The traditions was called the Miracle of the Dowries, and oranges symbolized the bags of gold. In 19th-century Europe, oranges were a rare commodity, so discovering one in your stocking was much more exciting then than it is today.
The orange tradition stuck around in America thanks to the marketing efforts of the California Fruit Growers Exchange that advertised their healthy Sunkist oranges, which remained a rare and special treat throughout the Great Depression. As post-war prosperity and globalization made oranges cheap and easy to find, the tradition has lost some traction.