Saturday was St. Nicholas Day.
The Parsons celebrate St. Nicholas Day.
In recent years, our tradition has fallen by the wayside; with all of us scattered (well, okay, currently it’s just ME who is scattered – I’m the rogue), and Jeremy and Ashley having their own family and building their own traditions, and everyone just being generally busy, it’s been hard to celebrate together on December 6. But as a child, we opened our stockings on December 6.
First, Ma & Pa would gather us around and tell us the true story of Saint Nicholas, the Turkish bishop known for his secret gift-giving. According to lore (one of my favorite words, by the way), jolly old Saint Nick met a man who could not afford a dowry for his three daughters – which would assure a life of singleness (and thus, prostitution) for each of them. Late one night, Nicholas crept up to their open window, and tossed in three purses – enough gold to pay a dowry for each girl.
Other stories feature Nicholas anonymously providing children with food and money, typically deposited in their shoes which were left outside their front doors each night.
Our stockings always held the same things: (chocolate) gold coins, an orange, a pair of socks or tights, and usually a small treasure. Once, I got a tiny Pound Puppy, and I thought it was the greatest gift of all time. As I got older, I would find a yummy-smelling lotion or some lip gloss or nail polish.
At some point in history, Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus became synonymous – but my parents always distinguished between the two, making sure that we knew that Saint Nicholas was a real man – a generous man who helped people – and the Santa Claus we saw in the mall was “just a guy in a costume.” I never, ever believed in Santa Claus. But I always knew about Saint Nicholas.
If I get married and have kids someday, this is a tradition that I want to continue. And if I don’t – well.
I’m thankful that I won’t be forced into a life of prostitution.