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Word for Wednesday: Stocking


Our Word for Wednesday theme for December is Christmas decorations.

decoration is something that is used to beautify a space. The word comes from the Latin ‘decorare’. 

So far this month, we’ve looked at the words nutcracker, bauble, and mistletoe. With Christmas Eve just days away, what else could we choose for this week’s word but stocking

Stockings are long socks which are hung up by children on Christmas Eve in the hope that they will be filled with gifts. There is no record of the origin of this tradition and even today different households have different gift-giving rituals. In some families, stockings are filled exclusively by Father Christmas (or Santa Claus), while in other families they are used for all presents. Sometimes stockings are filled with fruit and chocolate as well as gifts. In some households, naughty children are threatened with a lump of coal instead of presents. In others, children leave a selection of festive food and drinks for Father Christmas and his reindeer to enjoy. 

The word stocking dates to the 1580s and comes from the late-fifteenth century word ‘stock’ meaning ‘leg covering’. ‘Stock’ comes from the Old English ‘stocu’ meaning ‘sleeve’. The word stocking has been used to describe a vessel for Christmas presents since 1853 and the term stocking stuffer dates to 1945.

Have you read our other Christmassy Word for Wednesday posts?


22 Dec 2021
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