Celebrations, Christmas 2014, December Delights

Good Old St. Nick

From orphan to priest, a prisoner to a bishop, a doer of good deeds and a believed miracle worker, to a jolly fat man riding a sleigh. He is the patron of sailors and archers, repentant thieves, merchants, children and students, a canonized Catholic saint also commemorated by Lutheran, Angelican and Orthodox Christians and some Methodists and Baptists.

Through the centuries many legends have surrounded Saint Nicholas. He is one of the most popular and central figures in present day secular and religious holiday festivities, a revered icon of Christmas, loved by millions around the world, especially children.

Hagios Nikólaos was born of Christian Greek parents in now modern dayTurkey back in the third century, and later became most recognized for giving gifts to the poor, mainly underprivileged children who were known to find coins left in their shoes by him. This in time evolved into the hanging of the traditional Christmas stocking out on Christmas Eve by children globally. Later the reverence grew and even today in places like The Netherlands, France, Belgium etc. the feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated with great zest. Kids leave their shoes out on the eve of the feast (December 5th) and a lot of gift giving takes place then and the following day.

In those places, St. Nicholas is known simply as Sinterklaas (Sanctus Nicolaus – Latin), which over time and everywhere else somehow turned into what we all know as Santa Claus.

Undoubtedly, Santa Claus or St. Nick as I like to call him is one of my favourite things about Christmas. Being born into a Catholic family, there were plenty of stories I got to hear of the saintly man all through my formative years.

It was the stories which always held me, the absolute certainty with which they were narrated over and over again by scores of people. A new one here, a similar one by another, a completely different version by someone else. Aunts, parents, neighbours, the nuns at our school, everyone knew of him, everyone had their own story to tell. The writer in me loved how this character drew people to him, the depth he presented, the mystery always surrounding him, his selfless deeds which seemed remarkable, his presence which continues to dominate, be it the age old tradition of children around the world awaiting his arrival on Christmas Eve, or his very role which adults adopt when they play ‘Secret Santa’ during the holidays.

Saint Nicholas has numerous names, is peppered throughout literature, music, the arts, and even media. He has been depicted wearing different kinds of clothing and carrying in his hands anything from oranges to a crosier or a Bible. The jolly old man in a red suit we call Santa today was re-created by Coco Cola for an ad campaign in the 1920s and became a commercial success. There is not enough time, space and images to detail this legend in all of his glory.

But, one thing is for certain, there is no one quite like him who can make a child’s Christmas sparkle with more anticipation, joy and wonder, and no icon more consistently popular as a patron to the Christmas (and overall) spirit of giving.

Saint Nick, Over the Years

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAStatue of St. Nicholas in Demre.

New+Jersey+statue+St_Nicholas_interior+034

imagesVintage Santa

251146116691158517_E4qNxvMr_csanta-claus-wallpaper-source_auqVictorian Santa

cokelore_santa_toys_cutouthaddon-sundblom-coke-santaCoco-Cola Santa 1920s

Xmas2127Santa’s Sleigh

santa-claus3

If you have kids, or know kids who love the idea of Santa Claus, here are a few links I have used during the holidays over the years that my kids have loved and enjoyed (also, some adults I know who have.)

Personalized video message from Santa (If you have kids between 5-8, they will be thrilled): https://www.portablenorthpole.com/

Santa Tracker (Great for any age): http://trackingsanta.net/

Santa Games: http://www.santagames.net/

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anneblog

 Anne is a fiction writer and blogger, and a former hotelier living in the sprawling coastal city of Karachi, Pakistan, with her husband, two kids and a pet fish. A city girl at heart, she likes her coffee strong, books always within arm’s reach, perfumes by the boatload, music of the old school variety, beaches sans the crowds, cozy cafes early in the mornings, and intimate encounters with Jack Daniels on Saturday nights.

On Deranged Writers, Anne writes her personal blog Eight in the Morning, and the humorous feature Pillow Talk.

Follow Anne on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.

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19 thoughts on “Good Old St. Nick”

  1. Here you go Anne! I didn’t know many of things you mentioned here in this post before..Of course Santa Claus is someone whom I have taken for granted all these years (that’s what I felt after reading), never digging deep into his past or his appearance. So nice of your to share about one of the main icons and biggest joy in christmas celebrations..Thank you!
    Tweeted the link..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I believe in him, even now. Well, dad did a good job carrying his spirit and indulging me year after year. Now that I am somewhat older , definitely not wiser- I feel like it’s time to play St Nick myself- pass on the legend to young wishful faces… ..

    P.S – Uncle Santa, if you are reading this- won’t mind- chocolates, that book and the boy.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. i am so glad you bring Saint Nicholas here! i am orthodox and for us this is the first of winter celebrations,and most beloved Saint! he puts candies in children’s boots and ,sometimes,a small rod for those naughty ! i always loved Saint Nick most because the surprise is more ”at first hand”,not fancy package,just go and verify your boots,which ,as child,was the only and only time of the year when we clean up with pleasure:) tomorrow is the big day and i wish you that morning of December 6th to bring you something in your boots whom can warm your hearts and remember you that once,we have all been carefree and we could dream of everything in this world !

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Who doesn’t love St.Nicholas 🙂 …
    The kindest man on earth …

    “But, one thing is for certain, there is no one quite like him who can make a child’s Christmas sparkle with more anticipation, joy and wonder, and no icon more consistently popular as a patron to the Christmas (and overall) spirit of giving… “.
    Let alone children … even now I look forward to Christmas …
    can imagine the excitement the little ones must be feeling around Christmas … 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh I love Santa. I grew up with a house full of different religion. Yes u heard right, I and my dad with three other siblings being Muslims, my step mum and my step brother and sister being Catholics and we celebrated very festival know,to man. And we always looked forward to Christmas n my uncle David you to dress up as Santa.

    Thanks for the lovely pictures of Santa.

    Happy Holidays to all you Ladies out there.
    hugs n kisses.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. thanks for the knowledge anne –
    I didn’t know a lot of things which you have mentioned above
    happy 5th day guys
    its the bday of someone who is withme 24*7

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A Mince Pie.
    A Glass of Sherry.
    And a Carrot all left in Porch.
    For Santa Clause & the Reindeer.
    Kids (though no longer Kids) still write a Note to St. Nicholas.
    Christmas has it’s own Magic.
    Father Christmas & His Elves All Busy.
    The Chimney is swept.
    The Stockings have been Hung on the Bed post.
    Any Minute Santa is Going to come Down.
    Three Cheers for the Kind Portly Character.
    So Easily Recognised World over.
    So Loveable. Loved by Young & Old World Over.
    St. Nick is definitely an ‘Icon’
    Children & Adults all Await His Arrival.
    🎄🎅🎄 Ho Ho Ho!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I had no.idea that santa claus was saint nicholas….well I had no.idea that there was a saint nicholas..I am from an orthodox hindu family, my celebration of Christmas was the one week leave we get and get to eat a lot of cake in my childhood. I started celebrating it only after coming to college..
    here we have trees and Christmas friend…rit now I am in my secret santa hunt…they give us dares and clues so as to get gifts..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That was enlightening, did not know the background of Santa Claus in such detail. The evolution of the present day image is quite interesting, we have to thank Coca Cola for the plump, rosy cheeked, red clothed version we happily identify with! Hope you have had a happy St. Nicholas Feast this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Santa Claus is perhaps the most enduring image of Christmas and I didn’t know we had Coca Cola to thank for our plump, apple-cheeked, white-bearded (and always smiling) version of St. Nick.
    Anne superb post. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Wow…thank you for the history of St Nick. My own introduction to Santa Claus came from the movie Miracle on 34th Street and forever after that is the Santa I have pictured.

    Like

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