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Christmas Stockings

In North America, the traditional Christmas stocking actually dates back to the end of the XIXth century. The first to mention Christmas stockings being hung from a chimney were the illustrator, Thomas Nast, through his pictures and the writer, George Webster, in a story about a visit from Santa Claus.

In Quebec and Acadia, children traditionally put their shoes close to the fireplace so that the Infant Jesus , and later "Père Noël" (Father Christmas), could put gifts there on Christmas Eve. This custom, which probably came to us from European countries where it was a common practice in the XIXth century, does not seem to have survived this period.

In some Quebec families, children hung their stockings at the end of their bed rather than hanging them close to the fireplace or putting out their shoes. This custom ended during the 1930s when Christmas trees started to be set up in houses with gifts placed underneath.

Japanese oranges have a special meaning to the people who live in the Canadian Prairies. A gift from the East, their arrival at the coldest time of the year has brightened many homes and Christmas feasts for 110 years. To many, the festive season begins when Santa Claus welcomes the first major shipment of Japanese mandarin oranges at the Port of Vancouver, accompanied by young Japanese girls dressed in tradition kimonos. On Christmas morning the flavourful fruit find their way into many children's Christmas stockings.

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