Meaning of Army Boots Under a Christmas Tree?

Category Traditions
When soldiers are deployed during Christmastime, families will place a pair of boots under the tree as a symbol of the missing family member. This tradition could be inspired by St. Nikolaus, who leaves presents in the boots of children left on the hearth.


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December 1, 2019

What does it mean when someone puts Army boots under the Christmas tree?


December 1, 20190 found this helpful
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That they are wishing a member of the family who is away doing service a happy holiday and safe return home.

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December 1, 20190 found this helpful
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I was raised part of my life in France and later on when I got older in the US to go to school to learn English. My grandmother is American and I lived with her. She did tell me about this tradition one time and said that it was just during the war when both of her sons were away fighting.


They put 2 pair of boots under the tree one for each of her son to think of them on Christmas Day. After the war ended she never did this again. Maybe now some families who have loved ones away and fighting a war are doing it agin.

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December 1, 20190 found this helpful
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During the war our families placed shoes/boots under the tree but all I remember is we missed them and wanted something to remind us where they were and why they were not at home during this holiday time. Families with deceased sons also did this and said it signified the same thing - they were loved and missed.
Most of the families in our circle did the same thing but I'm not sure how it got started and it did stop after the war ended.
I do not know of any family that has carried on this 'tradition' even with children in the military.

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December 1, 20190 found this helpful

What is the context? Something from a movie or something you saw someone do? My late friend had tradition to leave small gifts in a boot or shoe on the eve of December 6. It wasn't a military boot though, so this may not be what you are seeking. Her family's tradition was part of the Advent celebration and it originated from her husband's Germany family.


His grandparents taught it to him, and he brought it to their marriage. She liked to give citrus fruit and socks, but said it could be anything the giver considered a treat. She included me in the tradition when I was going through a bad time. I don't see anything about it online, so it could have been something particular to where that family came from. I hadn't thought of this in years.

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