The Christmas stocking means many things to many people.
For kids, it is a belief that being good will mean you will be rewarded.
For young adults, it may mean romantic encounters.
For mature parents and grand parents, stockings are a way of expressing their love for having their children around on a festive occasion.
The stocking epitomizes the giving spirit of Christmas. It is a symbol of the season's generosity.
The tradition of Christmas stockings is said to have originated from a kind nobleman named Nicholas, who was born in 280 AD. in Patara, a city of Lycia, in Asia Minor. While still young, his parents died in an epidemic and he dedicated his life to the service of God and became well known for his kindness and generosity.
He always gave his gifts late at night, so that his identity would remain secret. One popular account tells us of a poor peasant who could not get his 3 daughters married because he had no money for their dowry. When Nicolas discovered this , he went to their house one night with a bag of gold and emptied the contents into the stockings of the girls , who had hung them by the fire place to dry, after washing them. Ever since this tradition of stuffing the Christmas Stocking with gifts has come into practice.
Source: Bombay Times