St. Nick was something I grew up with. It's a December holiday celebrating one of the origins of the Santa Claus mythos. St. Nicholas was a Bishop in Turkey who used to secretly leave coal or coins in the shoes that children would leave out. It wasn't because you weren't naughty or nice, it was a way for this man to help poor children who didn't have money for food or coal to keep warm by. At least, this is how I was taught the story. There are so many legends and myths about this man, it's hard to know if you were taught the correct one or if there is mass confusion. I suppose if I were a scholar on all the saints, I could have a better list of information, but oh well.
St. Nicholas died on December 6, which is why the Catholic Church dubbed December 6th the feast day of St. Nicholas Day. So on the eve of December 5th, St. Nick fills your stocking and on the morning of December 6th, you will see what was left to you. The mythos has been bastardized to encourage children to behave. Coal would be left if you were naughty or presents/toys would be left if you were good.
As I moved out of my central location in South-Eastern Wisconsin, I learned that not everyone knew about St. Nick or the importance stockings had. See, I didn't have my stocking filled on Christmas most of the years. Stockings were reserved for that special day in early December. As I started celebrating the holidays with families from different parts of the country, as well as abroad, I learned that the tradition of celebrating St. Nick was a very German-Central-Midwestian thing. Throw in the Lutheran thing, too, and I think it makes it an even more interesting story. With the people I met, I had to constantly look up the story and explain it to those around me. Some just chalked it up to being extra greedy during the holidays. Others thought it was interesting that there was this kind of sub-culture of celebration.
What always made days like St. Nick's Eve and Valentine's Day special for me as a kid was knowing about the story behind the day. I was taught the St. Nicholas story and I was taught about St. Valentine, which allowed for a deeper appreciation for the days beyond the commercialism. Yet, how do you explain the difference between St. Nick and Santa Claus? Well, first of all, St. Nick isn't supposed to be a naughty or nice thing. It's a recognition of giving and sharing with those who are less fortunate than you, so when you share in that day, you are sharing the gift of appreciating others regardless of their status as good or bad.
And while St. Nicholas was the inspiration for the jolly ol' St. Nick we've come to know and love as Santa Claus, there are other stories that filter into the creation of our renowned Santa Claus. Here is not the place for me to go into this. I merely wanted to share what our little geeky household did on this wintery celebration of sharing and gift-giving.
I've mentioned in previous entries that I've taken it upon myself to add a little geek to my Christmas this year, because, quite honestly, it makes me beyond happy. I smile and laugh and it's not an attention-seeking thing. It's something that literally makes happy. So this year for St. Nick I had up my Chewbacca stocking, which stands out greatly against the other three VERY Christmasy stockings.
I filled both my daughters and my husband's stockings. For my daughter, I loaded her up with books for the winter season. The crowning item was her very first "graphic novel." We purchased her the My Little Pony Graphic Novel compilation of the first set of comic books to be released. She also received a Rainbow Dash keychain. Already at this young age, I'm exposing her to all different types of reading material and I can't wait to read over the comic book compilation with her!
Next, I filled my husband's stocking with ornaments. I know I've talked about my husband's growing issues with my geek-ornament purchases, but I HAD to get him these. See, a few years ago I bought him the mini-hallmark Boba Fett and Frozen Han set. I remember he kind of was like "meh" at that point about them, because they weren't CHRISTMAS (he doesn't like to mix his geek with his Christmas decor). This year, though, they had released a Jabba the Hut and Boushh ornaments that would build the perfect scene with his already owned ornaments. I had to get them! Then, they also had the ewok ornaments and I needed to get those for him.
Sad to say, he was a little irritated with his stocking, but I hope deep down he really did like the thought I put into the gift. I mean, heck, they're even all from my favorite movie, Return of the Jedi!
My stocking was almost completely empty, because, well. . . St. Nick's gifts weren't ordered fast enough. I got a copy of Just Dance 2014 when it went on sale on Black Friday through Amazon and I had gotten myself a Bilbo Baggins ornament to hang in my classroom (since it's not an offensive item that I can use to show my love of literature and geekism). Luckly, but the time I arrived home, St. Nick had made a round-about turn and deposited my gifts in my stocking. I got three geek charms for my charm bracelet. All from ThinkGeek! How did he know?
And that's how we geeked out our St. Nick! W00TS all around!