2016 GOP candidate Fiorina said on TV,

I am the lump of coal in her(Hillary's) stocking.

What's the exact meaning of "I am the lump of coal in her stocking"? She will be a secret weapon against Hillary? Is it a biblical idiom?

  • 3
    At Christmas children hang up stockings to receive presents from Santa Claus, and a lump of coal is according to tradition what he leaves for naughty children. Dec 9, 2015 at 3:35
  • Then again - a lump of coal is a traditional Scottish gift on New Year's Day, when the First Footer brings good luck.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 9, 2015 at 16:16
  • @Chenmunka Thank you. But then, how to understand the speaker's meaning? GOP candidate Fiorina wants to bring good luck to a Democratic candidate?
    – dennylv
    Dec 10, 2015 at 0:54
  • @dennylv: My point is not to try to read too much into it. It is often difficult to discern meaning in the utterances of politicians, especially at election time. It is, after all, part of their job description to spout gibberish. Fiorina may have been mixing her metaphors, she may be unaware of First Footing. It is, as likely as not, simply an off the cuff dig at an opponent.
    – Chenmunka
    Dec 10, 2015 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


Nobody wants a lump of coal as a gift. Stockings are hung during Christmas, as a tradition. This is where Santa is believed to deposit something for Christmas, I believe. In this context, I think "A lump of coal in her stockings" refers to a disappointment she may face amidst her campaign. This may mean that Fiorina is confident she would upset Hilary's campaign by winning the elections.

PS: Kindly excuse my lack of knowledge about the US elections, if at all I've said something idiotic.

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