Saint Nicholas Day, December 6th, celebrates the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century bishop best known today as the real-life model for Santa Claus.
The legend of Saint Nicholas includes his becoming an orphan at a very young age. Though his family had been rich, Saint Nicholas decided to distribute all of his possessions to the poor and to dedicate himself to serving Christ. It is said that he would toss little pouches of coins through the windows of the poor, and that sometimes the pouches would land in stockings that had been washed and were hung on the windowsill to dry. Once, finding all the windows in a house shut, Saint Nicholas tossed the pouch up to the roof where it went down the chimney.
After Saint Nicholas’ death, his fame continued to spread in both Eastern and Western Europe. Throughout Europe, there are many churches and even towns named after Saint Nicholas.
In Germany, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and hope to find candy, coins and maybe a small gift in them on December 6. In the Netherlands, children put their shoes in front of their chimneys in hopes of finding chocolate or a small toy in their shoe when they wake. And just like Seeds of Happiness, St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared! Do you celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day in your family? Let us know how you keep this tradition alive in your home!