What is the origin of Christmas stockings?

"The old man went to bed sad that night. There is no worse feeling for a father than being powerless to protect his children and give them a good life. And it seemed as though he had failed in this regard. It had been a hard year, and he and his daughters barely had enough money to live on from day to day. There was no way he could provide a dowry for them. Without that, they couldn’t marry and faced a life of slavery."

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Image by Frauke Riether from Pixabay