St. Nicholas Day: Santa Claus is coming to town in spades

Two Sundays ago, we saw our first Santa Claus of the season riding on a float at the end of the Holiday Lights Parade in Gahanna, Ohio. Since my son is five, I’ve come up with elaborate reasons why Santa is in so many places at the same time.

On December 6, Santa Claus–aka St. Nicholas– has his own special day. St. Nicholas Day, a holiday started to honor Bishop Nicholas, the man who used his inheritance from his wealthy family to feed the sick and clothe the poor, particularly children, back in 3rd century Greece. He started the Santa Claus tradition.

Today finds St. Nicholas visiting schools, churches and museums, plus taking part in town parades and festivals. Most of them are in Europe, but he pays visits elsewhere to spread the idea that it’s good to give–even Walt Disney World, the Epcot Center is passing the word. Here, St. Nicholas is visiting guests at the Germany Pavilion. In some places, St. Nicholas has been making visits since the middle of November, but today is the feast day.

If you want to find St. Nicholas close to you, here’s a link that lists the various countries with St. Nicholas activities. Those links lead to links of specific events. The one in the photograph actually took place last Sunday in Germany. From what I can tell the spirit of St. Nicholas is catching on with my son. Yesterday, when I showed him a Toys For Tots present I bought to give away, he didn’t say, “I want one too.”