"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there." Everyone is familiar with this line from the poem by Clement C. Moore entitled The Night Before Christmas. But what is the origin of hanging Christmas stockings? According to Wikipedia there are several legends. One story is that of a nobleman with three daughters. The family fell upon hard times and sadly, there was no money for the girls' dowries and the father was worried that they might never marry.
Well! St. Nicholas happened to be visiting the village and was touched by the plight of this family. He understood that the father was too proud to accept charity, so he slipped into the home through the chimney, late at night, with a bag of gold for each daughter. When he spotted their stockings hanging over the mantle to dry, he decided to sneak a bag of gold into the girls' stockings. The family awoke, found the gold and hopefully they all lived happily ever after.