My family didn’t “do” St. Nick’s when I was a kid. My mom said it was because we weren’t Catholic. So, apparently on account of not being Catholic, I never got that bonus gift on December 6th like the rest of my classmates did. I was baffled every year when they brought their new toys/candy to school to show off. What the heck is St. Nick’s anyway? And what do Catholics have to do with anything?
Here’s what I found on Wikipedia:
The historical Saint Nicholas is remembered and revered among Catholic and Orthodox Christians. The tradition of Saint Nicholas Day- usually on 6 December, when his reputed birthday is celebrated- is a festival for children in many countries in Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. The American Santa Claus, as well as the Anglo-Canadian and British Father Christmas, derive from these legends. “Santa Claus” is itself derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.
While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick’s Day on a scale similar to the German custom. As in other countries, many people in the United states celebrate a separate St Nicholas Day by putting their shoes outside their bedroom doors on the evening of 5 December. St Nicholas then comes during the night. On the morning of 6 December, those people will find their shoes filled with gifts and sugary treats.
As for me and my family, we will celebrate St. Nick’s as Santa’s birthday, not to confused with the 25th, which is Jesus’ birthday. This was our second year doing so, and I’m so glad we did.