Celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas-December 6th

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Today is the Feast Day of St. Nicholas.  Happy Feast Day!  We celebrate this feast in our family.  My husband and I decided to incorporate his childhood tradition of stockings on December 6th to our own family traditions.  We did stockings on Christmas morning in my family.

My husband and I want to live more liturgically, so this is a great opportunity to celebrate the actual St. Nicholas, minus the commercialism.  Let’s be honest, Santa Claus, does not much look like St. Nicholas these days.  I even have my doubts that they are the same.  I will write about that later.  When we think about it, how much do we actually know about this Fourth Century Bishop of Myra, from Asia Minor?  Much of what is known about him has become legend, but what we do know is that he was a great defender of the Faith, generous, charitable, he was imprisoned, and fought the Arian heresy that has denied the divinity of Christ for centuries.  The American version of Santa Claus was brought to North America by Dutch Protestants who had transformed him into a nordic magician of sorts.  Catholic feast days were not popular in the US and Reformation countries.
Since we are in the middle of Advent, the Feast of St. Nicholas is the one day we start gearing up for Christmas.  I slowly bring out Christmas decorations.  The Tree is still a week off for us.  I pulled out the Nativity Set without Jesus and the Wise Men.  I have purple bows outside and on our wreaths.  I make a nice meal, we even eat meat on Fridays.  Tonight I made a venison roast that we did not end up eating.  We made a last minute decision to go with some friends to the Christmas parade downtown.  Normally we would eat dinner and then exchange stockings.  We each get an ornament that has been selected by a member of the family.  We also have a little bit of candy, oranges, and a small gift.
Being Catholic is a celebration.  We get to celebrate Baptism anniversaries, patron saint feast days, as well as other feast days that are important for our family.  It is a great way to show our daughter that we are a joyful people.  We live carrying our Crosses, but there is so much to celebrate in the joy that is in Christ Jesus.  The ultimate battle was won in the Resurrection.  His saints show us the way to Him.  St. Nicholas walked the path of holiness before us.  There is much to learn by his example.
I highly recommend bringing this feast day into your home.  For my husband and me the whole Santa thing (the verdict is still out on whether we will even do Santa, leaning towards no) makes sense today and not on Christmas.  Christmas is about the God-Man who became a baby.  The Savior of the world coming to us.  There is nothing that can compare!  Advent blessings.
Do any of you have St. Nicholas Feast Day traditions?

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