Before there was Santa Claus, there was Saint Nicholas, known traditionally as the “bearer of gifts”. On December 6th still celebrate Saint Nicholas Day.
In Northern Europe St. Nicholas Day is a big thing. Traditional celebrations included gifts left in children’s shoes (from which American Christmas stockings developed).
Good children receive treats – candies, cookies, apples and nuts – while naughty children receive lumps of coal. In Germany, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and hope to find candy, coins and maybe a small gift in them on Dec. 6. In the Netherlands, children put their shoes in front of their chimneys in hopes of finding chocolate or a small toy in their shoe when they wake.
At UPSK Saint Nicholas made an early visit bringing not only a treat but also a prayer card!