An orange included within a Christmas stocking is representative of St. Nicholas giving gold that was used to provide dowry money. Legend suggests that this gold was thrown to people by St. Nicholas and was in the form of golden balls.
In lieu of oranges, tangerines are sometimes used in stockings to symbolize gold. Tradition holds that the orange is the first item placed in a Christmas stocking and is placed into the toe. Another common symbolic item contained in a Christmas stocking is a candy cane. The candy cane is said to represent a shepherd's crook, which is a symbol of a bishop. St. Nicholas is said to be a bishop of the Catholic Church.