Tuesday, December 3, 2013

St. Nicolas Day

Hi guys. It's December 3rd. And I'm already exhausted. But as always I'm so excited for the wonderful season & spirit of the month. I've been listening to Christmas music for over a month, and my son has been saying "it's Christmas!" every day since. So it's time to get this party started. For the next four Tuesdays I'll be sharing holiday traditions. 


My sister-in-law celebrates St. Nicolas Day. I really had no idea what it was about, but over the last seven years I've learned a few things. St. Nicolas was a bishop during the fourth century in present day Turkey. He was orphaned at a young age, but was raised by an uncle who helped him become a bishop. St. Nicolas used his wealth to secretly help others especially children, sailors, and the poor. There are several stories of his service, each with variations of folklore. 

Countries all across Europe celebrate the Saint on December Sixth. Varying sources say it was either the day of his death or a day he performed great miracles. Whatever the cause, the day is set aside to do charitable acts and encourage children to be good. 

In Germany the children leave their shoes out the night before and St. Nicolas fills them with oranges, candy, and occasionally a coin or two. The naughty children receive a lecture, and for centuries, may receive a stick for them to be beaten with. 

In our family we give little gifts usually just to the children. This year we're going to leave our shoes out to see who's been good or naughty. Hopefully everyone gets a treat :) 

It's such a simple way to remind us to do good and be good. And then we focus on the Spirit of Christ and the glorious occasion of his birth. I really love the Christmas season.