Monday, December 06, 2004

Happy St. Nick's Day

"The Stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there..."

Has anyone else heard of this holiday before? I have never met anyone outside my family that celebrates it with the exception of some family friends. Here in the U.S. I think celebrating St. Nicholas Day is limited to Catholics in the Ohio Valley region. Mom grew up catholic, and so we've recognized St. Nick's Day all of my life. In true Catholic fashion, I had no idea why we celebrated this day until I hopped onto
google this morning and did a search. I mean, I knew the basics, that St. Nicholas was a catholic saint, a derivative of our modern day Santa Claus, and that if you left out your stocking (or shoes if you're in Holland) you would receive treats in it, but other than that I was ignorant of why St. Nicholas is celebrated. So if you care to be educated, click here or here .

So what did we learn?
-Well for one, today is a Feast Day, meaning it's ok to have eaten the Panera Cinnamon crunch bagel for breakfast, snack on the mini M&Ms that were in my stocking this morning, have the chocolate brownie from Ann Wade's mom for desert after lunch, and generally eat bad stuff today, because I'm eating it all in honor of a saint!
-Two, St. Nicholas is the patron saint of un-married girls! Hel-LO, I could have used this information years ago! Now I know why I'm still single- I haven't been pleading my case to St. Nick. Well that is all about to change!
-Three, I always have found it interesting that the feast days for a saint are on their death day and not their birthday. In Nick's case he wasn't martyerd the way many saints were, but that's not the case for many saints.
-Four, St. Nicholas gave his gifts at night because he didn't want to take credit for the giving. Instead he wanted God to get the glory for blessing those in need by giving anonymously. What a display of the adage, it is better to give than to receive. This story served as a gentle reminder to me, that when I give gifts this Christmas season is it to glorify myself- wow, what a creative shopper am I, and what a thoughtful gift I bought for that person, or am I giving because I truly want to bless others?

For years now I have enlightened friends on my family's St. Nick's Day stockings tradition. The Penthouse Pets diligently set our alarms to 5:45 this a.m. so we'd have to time to do stockings and still have time for pilates. (I feel so Gweneth Paltrow saying I do pilates now! Although "do" is maybe not the right word choice. "Attempt" is more like it! My body is not so flexible after just waking up at 6 a.m. every morning!) So thank you St. Nick for the pink ornaments, candy, and other goodies! (My goodies. My goodies. my goodies not my goodies.) That was a little shout-out to Em and Rhonda. Speaking of goodies though- have you ever payed attention to Christmas song lyrics? The word Goodies is all over the place! It's kind of annoying once you start to notice it. Kind of like Laura noticing car attennas when she is driving and then it's like they're everywhere! All you see when driving down the street are antennas. I dare you not to look at the attennas today. In the meantime, eat all you want in the name of St. Nicholas today, and join in our Christmas countdown: Only 18 days to go!


Anonymous said...

so, are you saying that if i were a catholic from the ohio valley region that i would be married right now with pink ornaments and that i could eat whatever i wanted? i need to think this whole protestant thing over a bit. ~ari

jillymae said...

a patron saint for us singles? man, we need to have this guy a party more than once a year, maybe once a month, or once a week for those of us over 30!!! hey, i could dig having an occassion (i.e. excuse) for stocking stuffers and candy once a month...

emilyb said...

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the first annual (first for Rhonda Lu and me) St. Nicholas festivities. You know you're serious about St. Nicholas when you get up at 5:45 am to celebrate! And get this...then Amanda's family (I mean Santa Claus) refills the stocking AGAIN on Christmas morning. Can I be in THAT family?! Oh wait, that's right...Christmas is about giving rather than receiving. Right, ok...I'm not jealous anymore.

Kobosky262 said...

It is good to know that family traditions are not lost with our generation! Way to go Amanda! I find that mini M&Ms and chocolate brownies are a wonderful way to preserve a festive American heritage! You make me laugh!! Love you ~shel