December 6th is celebrated as St. Nick's Day at our house. St. Nicholas has been one of the most popular saints of the Christian Church since the Middle Ages. He was a real person, born in the third century in Patara in what is now southern Turkey. He was raised by wealthy Christian parents who taught him to live his life to honor Christ. With his inherited wealth, Nicholas gave it all to help the needy, poor and destitute, obeying the words of Jesus when He spoke to a rich, young ruler to "sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me." (Matt 21:21) Nicholas's life was devoted to serving people -- the poor, the sick, sailors, and he especially loved children. If you would like to know more about St. Nicholas and the traditions that have been built around him, click here.
At our house, we always celebrate St. Nick's Day by reading a story about his life. A favorite story which we have read to our children through the years is "St. Nicholas and the Golden Bars" as told in the Book of Virtues, page 763 (yes, I have my book open to it). We also enjoy chocolate letters (initials of each family member) and chocolate coins. I think the Dutch first started this tradition, but every culture and nation has celebrated St. Nicholas (aka: Sinterklaas, Sancte Claus, Sankt Niklaus) in its own unique way. I hope you'll find a way to spread the cheer of the Real St. Nicholas this season.
1881 by Thomas Nast