December 6 is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. In my family, it is a tradition that children leave out their Christmas lists for Santa Claus in a bowl or stocking on the eve of St. Nicholas Day. The next morning, the list would be gone, and there would be candy in place of the list.
It was a sweet tradition, and one that members of my family still carry out to this day. Although I am an adult with no children with which to carry out the tradition, I decided to bring some candy canes into work today for my coworkers. I remember the surprise and excitement of being a child and getting those pieces of Christmas candy. Ribbon candy, candy canes and other Christmas goodies were generally part of the mix. I wanted to share that with my colleagues because it meant so much to me.
St. Nicholas was saint from the 4th century. He was a bishop of Myra. Although not much is known about him, he is rumored to have been known for his generosity and giving. It is said that he assisted a poor man who couldn’t provide dowries for his daughters by throwing bags of money in through his window. That is where it is believed by many that the legend of Santa Claus came from.
St. Nicholas Day also has a special meaning for me because Nicholas was my father’s name. Even though he died nine years ago, I can still feel his presence, especially on days like today where there just seems to be a spirit of Christmas around. Carrying on the tradition is also a way to honor his memory for me.
That is one of the beauties of the Catholic faith—so many traditions remind me of my family, as well as the larger Church community. This one in particular is one that I like to share with those around me.
Are there any particular Advent or Christmas traditions that you carry out in your family? Please share!