Today is Feast of St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus)
Thursday, December 06, 2012
As the story goes, St. Nicholas used to be a wealthy Bishop who surprised the poor children in his village with food to eat on their window sill where their socks were drying over night. If no socks were hung out to dry, he would leave a small sack with bread, fruit, nuts, etc. For some children in that village, that little bit of food might have been their only meal that day. Sometimes there was a small toy as well.
Nicholas was the Bishop of Turkey and is to this day the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, thieves, children and students. His reputation for secret gift giving to those in need became the inspiration for the modern day Santa Claus. Catholic and Orthodox Christians celebrate St. Nicholas Day in various ways around the world on December 6th, the day of his death in AD 343. The Christmas traditions of hanging stockings, candy canes, and giving to charity all have roots in the history of St. Nicholas.
When our German ancestries immigrated to the United States, this tradition was brought along when they settled in to their new home in America. All these 100 plus years later, we carry on the tradition with our son. (My DH Jeff's family came through Texas and mine by way of Ellis Island in NYC.)
So on Dec 5, before bed, my 7 1/2 year old son pulls out his biggest sock. In this case, it was one of his soccer stockings. He left his Christmas wish list along side it at the kitchen table. (We don't have a fire place and this was the tradition with my family when I was growing up.) The wish list is also there since typically we haven't yet seen Santa so early in the Christmas season to share his wants.
So, as I'm up long before the rest of the house to do my fitness routine, I stuffed his sock with a grapefruit, a navel orange, a banana, and two small trinkets from the dollar store. The nicer, more practical and useful gift is a book. Though not just any book; it's a Lego Ninjago Official Guide with mini figure. He will be so thrilled! Yes, we've raised a fabulous reader who also has a passion for Lego Ninjago!!