Holiday Cheer – Feast of St. Nicholas

by Anna on December 6, 2013

I love to talk about St. Nicholas Feast Day, so I’ve snagged today for myself.  I should point out, this is a repeat of my posting on December 6, 2011 and 2012.  Trust me, the history of Santa Claus has not changed that much in the past two years. Be sure to leave a comment….one lucky person will win a digital copy of THE PRICELESS GIFT, and everyone will be eligible to win a $25 B&N gift card.

 Sexy santaI first learned of Little Christmas in 1978, when I was an exchange student in Finland. My host family celebrated the day with a party and the exchange of small gifts. December 6th is the Feast Day of the Roman Catholic Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.

According to the website Women For Faith and Family “Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, raising three murdered boys from the dead, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.”

But it is wrong to assume that he alone is the legend of Santa Claus. He is one of many, including the pre-Christian Scandinavian legend of Odin, who rode throughout the world in winter on his eight-footed horse, Sleipnir, giving out gifts or punishments. Other legends include Knecht Ruprecht from Germany, Sinterklass from The Netherlands and Father Christmas from England.

Santa FaceThe custom of hanging stockings also derives from these legends. From Bishop Nicholas comes the story that when he threw the three bags of gold to save the three sisters from slavery, they landed in their stockings, hung out to dry. Later, Dutch children would put out their wooden shoes for Sinterklass to leave them goodies – apples, candies, cookies and sometimes money to represent the dowries of the three young girls. Of course, those who were bad received coal or switches instead.

History.com explains that Santa Claus came to America via the Dutch. In 1773 and 1774, New York newspapers reported gatherings of Dutch families in honor of the anniversary of Bishop Nicholas’s death, December 6th. In the early 19th Century, John Pintard, distributed woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the annual meeting of the New York Historical Society. The carvings included background images of stockings filled with toys and fruit hung over a fireplace. In 1809, the stories of Sinter Klass was further popularized by Washington Irving when he referred to St. Nicholas as the patron saint of New York in his book, The History of New York.
I know that we complain about stores taking the meaning out of Christmas with all their advertisements. But this is nothing new. In 1820, stores were advertising Christmas shopping and by the 1840’s, newspapers were creating separate sections for holiday advertising. The first Santa in a store was here by 1841. In the early 1890’s the Salvation Army recruited unemployed men to dress up as Santa and solicit money for the free meals they gave away on Christmas. Though today it is rare to see someone dressed as Santa, the bell ringers are still holiday icons.
The publication of “An Account of a Visit From St. Nick” by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 also helped to further the image and popularity of Santa Claus. Moore also gave the familiar description of Santa (Jolly old elf) and named the reindeer, though two of them have since been renamed. The poem has also been attributed to Henry Livingston, Jr.
For a great timeline of St. Nicholas in America, check out The History of Christmas’s America’s page.
For more information on St. Nicholas, as well as activities for celebrating St. Nicholas Feast Day, visit the St. Nicholas Center.
Christmas-Santa-Hat-Pretzels-main1-340x340 (1)
  Santa Hats
   Bite-sized bits of North Pole magic are just what your holiday party needs! This        delectable balance of salty and sweet is a wonderful way to give everyone an    irresistible taste of the Christmas spirit.

 Ingredients

  • Mini Twist Pretzels
  • White Chocolate Almond Bark
  • Red Sugar
  • Mini Marshmallows

 

 

Instructions

  1. Melt the white chocolate almond bark according to the directions on the package.
  2. Dip each mini twist pretzel halfway into the melted white chocolate almond bark.
  3. Dip each almond bark covered pretzel into the red sanding sugar until only a small amount of the almond bark is showing. Place on waxed paper.
  4. Cut the mini marshmallows in half. Use additional melted almond bark to adhere a mini marshmallow half onto the side of each pretzel. Allow time for the almond bark to set.

Here’s another recipe I came across, St. Nicholas Purse Cookies.  I haven’t made them yet, but I will today with my granddaughter. Just a hint, there’s a Hersey Kiss hidden in these things. Yummy! http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/cookies-other/#Purse

THE PRICELESS GIFT

The last thing Christina Scott expects Santa to bring her is a sexy—and very familiar—cowboy. Gavin Holloway’s just as shocked to discover she’s the woman he’s sent to pick up from the airport for a Christmas visit with her brother.  They’d spent one hot week together months ago—a week where they both left their identities and individual problems behind.  Neither ever expected a reunion.

 

Little do they know, Santa’s elf has more than coal up his sleeve. Ho ho ho and a badgering we’ll go before reindeer two-step on their rooftop and deliver THE PRICELESS GIFT that will leave their snowy days sizzling.

Anna Kathryn Lanier

Author, A Gift Beyond All Measure

http://aklanier.com/

Never let your memories be greater than your dreams. ~Doug Ivester 

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