Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Ok, so.  First of all, my parents never really had us believing in Santa.  I don't really know why, seems like a harmless enough myth to me, but it wasn't for us.  When she was in second grade, my sister apparently was telling people that Santa wasn't real.  So her teacher runs into my dad and goes, "Mr. Marthens, Rosalie is telling the other children that Santa Claus isn't real!"  and my dad goes, "Well you know he isn't, right?"

snickicon

ANYwho.  St. Nicholas is a real saint from whom Santa Claus derives.  He was a Greek bishop who lived in the 4th century and because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession is sometimes called Nikolaos the Wonderworker which, if I'm being honest, is a pretty B.A. moniker.  He had a reputation for giving many small gifts, especially to children, hence Santa being derived from him, but his feast day (12/6) is also celebrated by the giving of small gifts in many countries.

So when we were kids, my grandmother whose father came from a family of German immigrants would always remind us to leave out our shoes on the night of December 5th so that St. Nicholas could leave us presents.  As with Santa, I think we knew all the time that the gifts were from her, but somehow St. Nicholas Day always seemed a little more mysterious and fun I guess because the gifts weren't labeled.

So if you like giving your kids or grandkids cute little toys and oranges and candy, teach them about St. Nicholas and leave them some mysterious presents!  It's the best!

BONUS INFORMATION!  The European traditions surrounding St. Nicholas also encompass the cautionary tales of Pere Fouettard (some crazy butcher guy who kills bad kids or something.  It's all very confusing if you're not French) and Krampus! (The supernatural German version who's like a hairy devil or some craziness.  We have a book about him!)

krampus!

This is Krampus. Pretty much the opposite of St. Nicholas vis-a-vis looks and/or motivations.

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So, what do you think?