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Traditions & Memories This forum area discusses all the time honored traditions of Christmas. From Christmas trees to mistletoe to great fun with Santa these topics bring us together and inspire great celebration year round. We relish learning of Christmas from all parts of the world and sharing unique cultural traditions from all over. Share your ideas and fond memories here!


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  #1  
Old 12-18-2008, 03:02 PM
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Fruit from Santa

Someone emailed my about a tradition she enjoyed when she was a child. Does anyone here know anything about the origin of this tradition?

I have never heard of anyone else who had a family that did this, but it had to come from somewhere! When I was very small (early 1950's) and had been a good girl that day, Mom would tell me Santa was on the roof with a fruit for me. I was to focus on the ceiling, and poke it with a broomhandle. She stood behind me and threw an orange at the ceiling at the time I poked it. It appeared an orange from the North Pole simply fell to the floor. I was thrilled! I only remember this happening one or two times in my childhood. I asked Mom about it and she said her grandmother who was Dutch/Irish did this for her as a child. I can find nothing about this "custom" anywhere. Any ideas????
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2008, 04:36 PM
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No,I have never heard of it.It is cute though.
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Old 12-18-2008, 05:02 PM
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Yes, I can tell you exactly where it came from.

Nicholas, as you know, was a Bishop long before he ever was a Saint. This story is but one of many that make up his legend and it is sacred to those who consider him a saint.

He had heard of a family that lived closed by -- not even members of his faith -- who were very poor. So poor, in fact, that the father of this family was considering selling his oldest daughter into slavery, so that he might have funds for his other children. Word of this reached Bishop Nicholas who, in the dead of a cold night, donned his red Bishop's robes with the white fur trim, and paid an anonymous visit to the poor family.

When he got to the house he was able to see the stockings the children had hung by the fire to dry. All he wanted to do was to somehow give a small gift of gold -- enough to prevent any children from being sold into slavery -- but he had to figure out how to get into the house and he had to figure out where to leave it. He knew he couldn't just knock on the door and hand it over -- the father had too much pride to allow that to happen. Besides, Bishop Nicholas did not want to create any obligation for the gift...he just wanted to solve the problem without creating another one. So anonymity was important.

Now, there are several versions of this story. Some say he just dropped the small bag of gold on the porch and then left. Others say it wasn't a bag of gold at all, but, rather, a ball of gold. Some stories even go so far as to suggest that Bishop Nicholas tossed the gold up over the roof line where the ball went down the chimney and landed in the stocking of the eldest child.

Regardless, he somehow left the gift and went on his way.

A few years later, the family's circumstance had not changed and the father was once again known to be considering selling a child into slavery. And again, word of that reached the good Bishop who again brought an anonymous gift of gold in the dead of night.

Determined to at least thank the gift bringer, the father when he faced the situation a third time caught Bishop Nicholas in the act. Nicholas tried to swear the man to secrecy but, alas, he could not contain his gratitude and he told the tale over and over again.

The orange -- and not just any fruit, by the way -- is symbolic of the Bishop's gold. That is why many get an orange in the toe of their stocking on Christmas morning.

There is one in each of our stockings every year. Telling this story, and others of the good Bishop of Myra, is a beloved tradition in our home. If more people knew the stories and shared them, we'd respect Santa more than we do.

He was quite the man!
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:56 PM
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I've also heard of this. As a matter of fact in church class as a kid we used to get brown sack lunch bags with a few pieces of candy and always an orange and peanuts. I've also seen and maybe even made some as a kid where you take an orange and prick cloves into it. These were usually made into ornaments with ribbon to hang if I recall correctly.
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Old 12-19-2008, 01:31 PM
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I believe that this painting depicts the story (or variation of) that Jeff speaks of.



St. Nicholas Endows Three Impoverished Maidens With His Inheritance (in the Martelli Chapel)(by Fran Fillipo Lippi - Church of San Lorenzo, Florence Italy) ( The Bridgeman Art Library) circa 1406-69

Note: Nicholas carries something in his left hand. The author Jeremy Seal states: "The object is indistinct, more or less spherical...."

Could this be a Gold ball?

I know it's small and will try and find a larger version. The painting is in Jeremy Seal's Nicholas: Epic Journey from Saint to Santa Claus, but it is in black and white and not very detailed.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:11 PM
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Thanks, Jeff. I never realized, or read, that the orange was a symbol of the Bishop's gold. I was looking for actual fruit being connected to Nicholas.
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Old 12-19-2008, 08:33 PM
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My Grandparents told of similar tales and why they always had an orange in thier stickings...
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Old 12-19-2008, 09:55 PM
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This story gained popularity during the Depression. For many folks, an orange, some nuts and penny candy was Christmas during those tough times.
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:40 PM
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Every Christmas, living at home with my parents until my mid 20's I got an apple and an orange every Christmas even tough we had fruit in our house all the time and the fruit was taken out of the fruit bowl.

I always asked why and was told it was tradition as when my parents were younger they received this gift as well
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:21 PM
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I had never heard of this. It's really cool thought thanks for sharing!!
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