Can you believe that? At Books-A-Million...at night...hmm... Must be making sure that all the good boys and girls are in bed sleeping. It was about 9pm anyway on a weeknight.... Well, I, of course, had to ask Mr. Claus for a picture.
But, just who is this guy?
Santa Claus, rather St. Nicholas, is REAL. He was a real, live person. And, he did many wonderful, amazing things throughout his life. He was such an inspiration to those who heard about his life that he became a saint.
There are many legends about who this man really was, but the big picture told of his love for children and generosity to those in need. All over the world this day is celebrated in many different ways, but nonetheless St. Nicholas is remembered. The Dutch children leave treats for Santa's horses/reindeer in their shoes in hopes that Santa will leave a small prize for them in return. In Germany, children dress up in a Bishop costume (just as St. Nick wore in the picture above) gathering alms for the poor.
Here, however, the celebration is a little different or next to nothing. People are still madly searching for things they want and things they have to have for others and whatnot. Honestly, Christmas in the US is getting a little out of hand for me. Which is why (one of the reasons) I do not plan on doing the Elf on the Shelf idea. Sorry. No offense to anyone who loves it. It is a great idea, but it's just not for us. The little elf freaks me out... I don't do puppets.
Anyway, basically, a way that we like to keep this particular season not so commercial is by honoring certain days such as this. They way that we remember St. Nick is with our stockings. Whether we are following this idea from the Dutch children or another legend, the stocking/shoes are a part of St. Nicholas. This is how he left little prizes or money to the children or those in need. We started this tradition last year, and here's what we did this year (remember, you can click the picture to make it bigger):
From the top left: Alex LOVES this idea! The layout of everything in the boys stockings - including gold coins like St. Nick left. Candy Cane Kisses - yes, please! Andrew is such a big boys this year...he's growing too fast! Jason's stocking goodies :)
Opening their stockings - love Andrew and Alex faces!! LOL
Now, yes, this year Andrew did ask more questions about this. He knows that St. Nicholas and Santa Claus are both the same guy. But he wasn't sure why we were just doing the stockings for now. We explained that today (December 6th) is when we celebrate all the good things that Nicholas did for those around him. He was good with that answer so moved along to his Christmas Goldfish :)
We definitely do the "Santa thing" here and will continue to do so until whenever. I definitely go Christmas wild here. House is decorated, all the Christmas books are out, the DVDs, the music is on 24/7 it seems. We love this time of the year. In fact, our decorations don't come down until the Epiphany - Jan 6th (AKA the 12th day of Christmas). But that is another post for another time.
Happy St. Nicholas Day!
To learn more about the life of St. Nicholas and how you can celebrate at home, Church, or school check out the St. Nicholas Center for LOTS of ideas and stories.