Sunday, December 9, 2012

You Didn't Know that St. Nick Vacations with Santa?

Let me get this out of the way right now.  St. Nicholas and Santa Claus are NOT the same guy.  They are completely separate, yet according to Mom, they're very good friends.  As a matter of fact, St. Nick vacations in the North Pole with Santa after Nick's feast day on December 6.  After all, he's exhausted from filling all those stockings/shoes with candy, nuts and fruit, and he needs a little break.  That's why we would put our Christmas lists to Santa inside our St. Nick stockings.  He'd hand them over to Santa during his vacation.

Weren't you also raised with this knowledge?  After all, it sounds completely logical, doesn't it?

I went to a public school and remember being the only student who knew about St. Nick.  And I was certainly the only one in my school who St. Nicholas visited.  I'm going to make a confession about that.  I completely loved it.  I adored that I had something that others didn't.  Somehow, it made the magic that much more magical.  It was also something wonderful to look forward to after Thanksgiving.  For a child, that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems like a year.  But the week and a half between Turkey Day and St. Nick Day didn't seem so bad.  And then the 19 days between getting our stockings filled and Christmas morning didn't seem like such a huge hurdle.  It was a great "mid way" point for the holidays.

I am the youngest of seven kids, and I only remember St. Nick Day with Eric and Anne.  Perhaps the older kids remember the Feast Day slightly different, but there are some things that I know stayed the same.

We would secure our tube socks (the thought was "the bigger the better" in the hopes that we'd get more candy from the saint--I don't think that ever panned out) on the chest of drawers in our dining room.  We'd jam the top of the sock in the drawer and make sure that it was secure.  My personal way of doing it was to test it to make sure that pressure wouldn't make it fall, and then I'd put my Christmas list in it.  Perhaps some of my siblings put their lists in the sock before they secured it.  Flexibility is always good.

And then I'd wake up, run out and see what I got.  I think we always had an orange at the bottom of the sock (I'm sure it was to weigh it down--Would a kid ever actually eat it?), and we always had a long candy cane.  St. Nick didn't bring those measly regular candy canes.  He brought us the serious stuff.  My brother Eric would work on it until it could actually be used as a weapon if he so chose.  We'd also get chocolate, other candies and a small gift.

But I think the best part of the entire experience was the magic sparkles left by St. Nick.  They would fall from his cape wherever he walked.  We could actually see where he walked in our house!  And if we were lucky, there would be snow outside.  Sometimes, just sometimes, Dad would find St. Nick's horse's hoof prints.

What is better than that to a kid?  Magic sparkles.  A saint's horse's hoof prints.  And candy!

St. Nick also comes to my kids.  My husband, who is of Irish ancestry, took a bit of time to come around to the St. Nicholas idea.  I think he finally realized that he had no choice; he's a smart man.

Today, letters to Santa may include website addresses (to make it easier for his elves).  But St. Nick is fine with that.  He's always up on the latest technologies and ideas.  It's part of what makes him special.

My kids' St. Nick stockings hanging over our fireplace.  Please notice the Nerds in the bottom right of the photo.  Proof positive that St. Nick knows what each child loves. 


  1. "What is better than that to a kid? Magic sparkles. A saint's horse's hoof prints. And candy!"

    That's pretty good to "adults," too...we all need some magic :-)