There is nothing like the holiday season. It’s a chance to connect with family, celebrate our beliefs, and close out the year while welcoming new beginnings. The weather may be dismal, but our homes are warm, and (thanks to technology) our loved ones are always close.
As you reflect on the traditions you celebrate, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the significance of some of the elements of the holiday season, with a special emphasis on gold. We’re a gold company, after all.
So, why is gold so important during the holiday season? Here are just a few reasons.
Why do we put oranges in the stockings?
One of the best aspects of the holiday season is sharing stories that have been passed down from generation to generation about the different figures from around the world who have impacted cultures and celebrations.
One of the most well-known figures is St. Nicholas. Although many have different traditions when it comes to celebrating St. Nicholas Day (December 6), we rarely think about what St. Nicholas did to start these traditions.
Legend has it that the origin of the Christmas stocking is associated with both gold and St. Nicholas. The story goes that St. Nicholas threw bags of gold through an open window. The family of the home was hanging their stockings above the fire to dry, and one of the bags of gold landed directly in one of the stockings.
But why do we put oranges in the stockings? While many would love to see a bag of gold in their stockings, it wasn’t an easy feat. Instead of gold coins, many families started putting oranges in their children’s stockings to represent the gold coins St. Nicholas delivered.
So, whether you stuff boots on December 6 or hang your stockings by the chimney with care, remember that the tradition started with gold.
The significance of gold as a color
Gold and yellow are significant colors in and of themselves, no matter which holidays you celebrate. Many of the symbolic aspects of gold and yellow are associated with the season, with yellow being a replacement for gold in many communities as gold fabrics and decor were unattainable.
Gold is often used to represent the Star of Bethlehem. The color itself is representative of illumination as it reflects and enhances light. But gold is also associated with love, compassion, courage, and wisdom. These are all elements we bring into the holiday season.
- Love: During the holiday season, we often look to spend time with loved ones, inviting them to join us at our dinner tables.
- Compassion: Around this time of year, volunteering increases by 42% and donations increase by 80%.
- Courage: While stress levels tend to rise during the holidays, so does the strength of those around us.
- Wisdom: Passing knowledge, legend, and stories to our loved ones seems to have more significance around the holidays.
This year, as you decorate for the holidays, consider how much gold (whether real or decorative) you’re using to represent the season.
Gold, religion, and the holiday season
We all know the story of the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings. They each brought Jesus a gift. One of those gifts was gold. Why? The Arabian king, Melchior, knew that gold symbolized kingship, and he wanted to let the world know that the new king was born. Gold also symbolizes eternal life as well as divinity and purity. In addition to these symbolic features of gold, it is believed that the gold given to Jesus at his birth helped the Holy Family flee to Egypt during Herod the Great’s slaughter of Bethlehem’s baby boys.
Gold also has great significance in Jewish holiday traditions. While most Jewish children can tell you stories of ‘gelt’ gifts from their holiday gatherings, the significance of these chocolate coins wrapped in gold and silver foil has deeper roots. Although gelt is now given to children on Jewish holidays, the tradition started with real gold pieces and real currency given to traveling workers. Hanukkah, especially, was a time these workers were given a little more.
How gold is used in songs over the holiday season
One of the most beloved traditions during the holiday season is singing holiday songs. When it comes to warming the soul during the coldest months of the year, a heartfelt song can change everything, whether it’s sung by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Wham!, or Mariah Carey.
Gold has shown up in many carols and songs of the season as it is such a prominent aspect of our holiday traditions.
In “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” we hear of five golden rings. “We Three Kings” helps relay the story of the gold crown given to Jesus at his birth because he is “King forever, ceasing never/Over us all to reign.”
The stop-motion Christmas classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer even has a song entitled, “Silver and Gold,” where you hear “Silver and gold/Mean so much more when I see/Silver and gold decorations/ On ev’ry Christmas tree.”
The place of gold in our traditions
Although there are thousands of traditions associated with the holiday season, one thing is clear: Gold, which represents natural real wealth, has a place in everyone’s home this time of year.
As you reflect on the reason for the season, consider what the gold in your songs, gifts, decorations, and home truly means.