…in Hopes that St Nicholas Would Soon Be There!

You know doubt know that line from the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Have you ever been curious about the tradition of hanging stockings by the fire?

In days past when homes were heated by fireplaces, stockings were routinely hung by the fire to dry after washing or winter walks in the snow. Rare would be the home in that did not have stockings hung by the fire on most any night.

Legend has it that a recently windowed gentleman was worried about the future of his unmarried daughters. The gentleman lacked the dowry to ensure that his girls would be able to marry a man of means.

He confided in a friend that he was distraught about this problem and the friend shared the concerns with St. Nicholas, who was known for his generosity.  St. Nicholas was aware that the gentleman was prideful and hence would be unwilling to accept charity, so a clever plan was needed.

On Christmas eve while the family slept, St. Nicholas climbed down the chimney of the gentleman’s home and put three gold balls into each daughters stocking.

When the family awoke in morning they discovered the gold balls in each girls stocking allowing a proper dowry to be paid so that they could be married and live happily ever after.

It is believed that the association of oranges in stockings at Christmas has its origin with the three gold balls delivered by St. Nicholas.  After the origin of the three gold balls story came the parental threat to children that if they misbehaved that St. Nicholas would fill their stockings with coal and not gold!

This is really an empty threat. Good luck finding any coal in Jacksonville. You’d have better luck finding three gold balls!

Back in the day the stockings hung by the fire were wet wool and not so likely to burn. Today most Christmas stockings are polyester and extremely flammable, so be sure to hang them by the chimney with care!

Another difference between there and then and the here and now is that back in the day the fireplace was used all day every day for cooking as well as heat in winter. Fireplaces were well maintained as a matter of necessity.

Today fireplaces and chimneys are seldom used and often neglected. That actually leads to a greater importance to regular maintenance and inspection. You see it’s not the heat that damages the firebox and flue, its moisture. And there’s plenty of moisture in Jacksonville!

That’s why the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that your chimney be cleaned and inspected annually regardless of how often you use it.

And they also recommend that you have a properly functioning Carbon Monoxide detector as well as a fire extinguisher.

Every season in Jacksonville one or more families suffer a house fire due to their neglect of chimney care. Keep your family safe and the air in your home fresh with a cleaning and inspection by Chimney Champions®! Call Chimney Champions® right now at 904-268-7200 to keep your home and family safe!