According to legend, the very first gifts St. Nicholas gave were to three very poor girls who needed money for their wedding dowries.
On Christmas Eve they hung their stockings to dry by the fireplace.
St. Nicholas slipped in at night and left gold coins in each of their stockings so they could marry the men they loved.
Until recently, Christmas stockings were filled with nuts and fruit.
The Italians introduced giving a lump of coal to naughty children.