St Nicolas, Christmas Stockings and Marriage Proposals


Last weekend we put our tree up.  Part of our Christmas tradition is the search for a real tree.  Obviously I always want one that is far too big, so it takes a while.  Once home we love the smell a real tree brings. Over the Christmas period I am constantly tweaking the decorations as the branches settle.  Our tree decorations are an eclectic mix of Christmases past.  Decorations our children lovingly made when they were small.  More sophisticated decorations family and friends have given as presents and baubles from our travels.  As each one is unwrapped so is a memory.  It makes for a very pleasant nostalgic day, accompanied by Christmas music and mulled wine. Perfect.

Also in the Christmas decoration boxes are our children’s Christmas stockings, bought when they were very small.  The stockings are a little worn and dog eared but every year I fill them with treats.  Our children are now in their thirties and slightly bemused that they still get a stocking.  I like to think they appreciate the tradition.  As tradition dictates their stockings also contain a satsuma or small orange.  I had always believed this stemmed from a time when these fruits were a rarity and therefore a special present in themselves.

Looking further back into history, it is believed that St Nicolas may have been responsible for starting this tradition.  St Nicolas was a bishop in the area we now recognise as Turkey. A rich man, he was known to bestow gifts on the poor.  As the legend goes, St Nicolas heard of a poor man, who had three daughters.  The man could not afford for his daughters to marry as each would require a dowry.  St Nicolas dropped bags of gold down the chimney of the poor man’s house and by chance the gold fell into their stockings that were hung by the fire to dry.  Hence we now put stockings up on Christmas Eve and the oranges represent the gold.  By sheer coincidence, St Nicolas is also known as the patron saint of the unmarried.

I would like to think it is the influence of St Nicolas that marks this time of year as a favourite for marriage proposals.  Maybe it’s the reminiscent festive feel or the anticipation of a new year ahead, that leads to such realisation.   Knowing you want to be with that one person for the rest of your life. It can be an overwhelming thought when it hits you. It’s scary. It’s exciting. It’s full of ‘what ifs’.  You also know, that if you don’t propose, don’t have the confirmation that that person feels the same as you, life will change forever, either way.

There are many ways to propose but I would suggest you go with what’s in your heart.  However you choose to pop the question make sure it reflects you and what you are asking of the other person.  Think of the other person too, you want them to be receptive to your question so don’t put them in a situation that instils a fight or flight response!  You know this person well enough to want to spend the rest of your life with them, so go with your heart and I’m sure they will respond with theirs.

Merry Christmas everyone,

I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

Let’s hope for a healthier, happier 2021.