Tomorrow (December 6) is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia in the 4th century. Known for generously giving to those in need, over the years his image evolved (devolved) from that of a saintly bishop, to a gift-giver to children, to a fat little rosy-cheeked imp from the North Pole, jumping down the chimney to deliver presents on Christmas Day.
I don’t really have a problem with having fun with the imaginary Santa Claus, but since he is so far removed from St. Nicholas now I’m glad the Orthodox Church remembers the real man – in fact, he is one of the most popular Orthodox Saints, and the patron saint of my parish. Not only was he very generous, he is also remembered for punching Arius during the Council of Nicea. If you want to know more about the, um, rugged side of St. Nicholas, check out this interesting video I just saw today for the first time!
Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
If you would like celebrate St. Nicholas Day with your family, here are a couple simple and fun ideas:
1. Have the kids leave their shoes outside their bedroom doors tonight. When they’re asleep, slip a few coins in the shoes along with a special treat.
2. Give a gift to someone in need. You could leave anonymous gifts for each other, or for neighbors, family or friends. You could also make care packages for the homeless in your area (great items to include are warm socks, baby wipes, lip balm, band aids, tissues, and a gift card for food).
3. Punch a heretic. …just kidding 🙂