Happy St. Nicholas Day: Who Was Old St. Nick, Anyway?

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‘Tis the season for commercialism, so it’s nice that Saint Nicholas Day rolls around each December 6 to remind us of the reason for the season: giving.

Celebrated in many Christian countries worldwide, St. Nick’s feast day serves to remind children of the real Saint Nicholas, the kind and generous fourth century Turkish bishop who was known to give secret presents, particularly to those in need.

(Read a two-minute bio of Santa Claus.)

Traditionally, children put out their shoes the eve of December 6 to receive a present in the morning. If they were nice they might find cookies, candies, apples and nuts in their shoes (let’s hope their shoes aren’t too smelly). But if they had been naughty that year they may have found nothing but a lump of coal.

(See the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Christmas.)