The Christmas Orange: A Christmas Tradition
Every year in our stockings, Santa would place an orange at the toe. Of course there were other trinkets and goodies that filled the stocking as well, but those changed each year. The one we could always count on was the Christmas orange.
Even as my sister and I grew, my Mom still placed that orange in the toe and I never really had thought about why she did this or had even asked her. However, when I married, even before my own children, I continued the tradition. It is funny because my husband did not share this tradition but there have been years when somehow two oranges ended up in our Christmas stockings.
In some stories, I have read that the reason that the orange was such a valuable gift during the Christmas season was because they were much more difficult to find, especially in the northern states. Because they were hard to find, they were expensive and deemed a luxury. Certainly not something that working families would spend hard earned money on to have on the table every day.
There are many stories about the Christmas orange. When I finally did ask my Mom how this tradition came about, she told me that she read about it in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book and fell in love with the idea. Something about the fresh, citrus scent that fills a room when it is peeled just made her want to add that to her Christmas tradition. In addition, if you think about a Christmas stocking and the size of an orange, it really fills up that stocking. There are less "extras" that are needed. And so the Christmas orange was born in our home.
Once I became a teacher, I purposefully collected books. I collected series books and books by the same author, all in the name of relating a story to what we were learning in class. So to my surprise, I found the story An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco as I began collecting her stories. Little did I know that this was a version of the Christmas Orange.
Books About the Christmas Orange
There are a lot of stories out there that reference the Christmas Orange, however, the theme in all are relatively the same. This is the season of giving and the slices of the orange represent the ability to share what you have with others. During the holiday season in December, no matter your religious beliefs, it is a great reminder of remembering others and keeping the idea of sharing and giving within your heart. An Orange for Frankie is a great story that I love to share with my children each Christmas.
The Christmas Orange
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Traditions are a wonderful part of not only the holiday season but families in general. Thank you for sharing my family's Christmas tradition with me. From my house to yours, I wish you and your family a happy holiday season, no matter what your religious beliefs may be.
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