St. Nicholas visited our house last night in honor of his feast day today. Like many mostly German Catholic families, when I was growing up, St. Nicholas would leave candy and a small toy in our stockings on the night before his feast day. This was a tradition my mother carried to us from her own childhood. But we never did talk about the historical St. Nicholas.
So it's only in the last few years that I've learned, mostly from friends, that St. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (in modern Turkey) who, amongst other things, anonymously gave money to keep a poor man's daughters out of a life of prostitution. He also punched out a heretic at the Council of Nicea. The Church honors him as the patron saint of children.
So this morning we found a Christmas sleeper and book The Stable in Bethlehem in Elijah's stocking. I feel St. Nick may have overdone it this year. But, how do you give an infant candy? However, he did provide circus peanuts for Daddy while Mama got two kinds of gummies.
I think we may have to continue the tradition of Christmas books on St. Nicholas Day. It seems like a good way to incorporate him into Advent even more. But maybe he will pair it with candy next year.