Hanging Christmas stocking on the fireplace on Christmas Eve in the hope that it will be filled with presents the next morning is a custom that goes back about 400 years.
It derived from the custom in Holland of children placing wooden shoes next to the hearth the night before the arrival of St Nicholas. The children would fill their shoes with straw and food for St Nicholas' donkey that carried the gifts. In exchange he would leave a small gift.
Stockings were substituted for the shoes in Britain, most of Europe, North America and Australia.•