What You Need To Know About Santa Claus

Christmas is fast approaching; and Santa is the leading man of this holiday season. He's coming to reward those nice "kids" and the naughty one, too.

But do you know who Santa really? Hmmm... if you don't, well I thihink it's time you do...

Did You Know...

Santa Claus was originally St. Nicholas, who was born in the village of Patara. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while he was still young. Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas' feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds.

December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe. For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint's horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in earlyAdvent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.

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