Most of what I can find online suggests that children are threatened with having coal in their Christmas stocking if they are naughty. I'm sure that's correct in the modern day.

However I've also read that in Victorian times, a piece of coal was a normal gift to include in a stocking (perhaps for luck). Is this true? If so, when did it start to be considered a bad thing to receive coal and why?

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    Preliminary research suggests that it dates to the original Saint Nicholas legends in the Netherlands and Holy Roman Empire during the High Middle Ages. – Pieter Geerkens May 22 '16 at 4:06
  • A few centuries, back Angel figurines on top of Christmas Tree had a piece of coal in one hand and bread in the other. The meaning was quite different: Remember the poor at Christmas time, coal represented the need to keep warm and bread represented the need for the poor to have food on the table! – Ken Graham Jul 2 '16 at 15:31

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