Saint Nicholas Day – December 6
Early in the Advent season we celebrate a feast that has been popular for centuries in Christian countries, especially in Northern Europe. This is a good way to remind children that Jolly Santa Claus, is, in fact, Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.
Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. He is considered the patron saint of children.
Traditional celebrations of Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children's shoes (the origin of our American Christmas stockings). Good children receive treats like candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children receive switches or lumps of coal. Today, especially in families of German extraction - children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and expect to find candy and coins or small gifts in their shoe on December 6th.
This has always been a wonderful opportunity early in the Advent season to remind the children of the coming of baby Jesus. This has always been an exciting and wonderful celebration for our family.