Coffee and Contemplation: Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated worldwide on December 6, the anniversary of the death of a third-century saint known as Saint Nicholas. He is the inspiration of the modern-day Santa Claus but don’t confuse this celebration with Christmas. Though they have similarities, the tradition of leaving gifts in stockings or shoes is believed to have been started by Saint Nicholas and later incorporated into Christmas. St. Nicholas is known for selling all his possessions and giving his money to the poor. Raised as a devout Christian, St. Nicholas dedicated his whole life to serving the sick and suffering. 

Sailors, travelers, clergy, school children, and thieves, to name a few, all claim Saint Nicholas as their patron saint. He was born in what is now modern-day Turkey. This holiday is sometimes called the Feast of Saint Nicholas. This is the day to offer small, meaningful gifts. These could be candy, chocolate, or even a note to someone special. It need not be something elaborate. Start the holidays early with little mini gifts tonight. I’m down for this idea of a feast. Thanksgiving was recent but I’m hungry again. Perhaps that’s what I’ll start calling Thanksgiving from now on. The US celebrates the Feast of Saint Nicholas a couple weeks early. That sounds like an easy way to explain to foreigners what Thanksgiving is all about.

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