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Christmas stocking oranges tradition has a Minnesota link

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Orange harvest
Oranges were a rare delicacy during the late 1800s in Minnesota, which may explain the tradition giving them as gifts in Christmas stockings.
Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

Waking up Christmas morning to find an orange in the bottom of a stocking is a tradition familiar to many of us who grew up in the Midwest. The practice dates back to the late 1800s when oranges were considered a rare delicacy.  

Historian Annette Atkins says the idea of giving oranges as Christmas gifts may be traced back to a couple who founded the town of Northfield, Minn. Click on the audio link above to hear her conversation with MPR on Morning Edition.