For those of us with European ancestry, which is many of us I imagine, Saint Nicholas need not be forgotten in December in favor of good old reliable Santa Claus. What many don't realize is that Santa Claus is a relatively modern mis-pronunciation of the name Saint Nicholas. I believe we can thank the Dutch for this, but don't quote me on it...
Saint Nicholas was an actual, real life person that lived about 300 years after Christ, give or take... He is recorded as being the youngest (or among the youngest) Bishops in the Christian church and has so many miracles attributed to him that history often identifies him as "Nicholas the Wonder-Worker". Nicholas was born in Myra but his legends traveled the world. He is most known for the time he saved a poor man's three daughters from an undesirable fate by secretly providing the family with enough gold to marry off the daughters. These sacks of gold are believed by many to be the precursor of the gifts we find under the tree on December 25th.
Nicholas died on December 6th and it wasn't long before people started doing good works in his name. In many European areas, it is tradition to acknowledge Saint Nicholas on the eve of December 6th. Children will leave their shoes out overnight with the expectation that Saint Nicholas will leave a little something for them inside the shoes...usually candies, fruits, and such. Depending on the European location, Saint Nicholas may be accompanied by a companion. Whether Krampus, the demon who punished naughty children, or Black Peter, or Knecht Ruprecht, Saint Nicholas is an interesting fellow!
In my home, as in many homes of those with European ancestry, Saint Nicholas Eve is a time of expectation for the arrival of the Wonder Worker. On December 6, we awaken to treats in our stockings... candies, toys, and other fun things.
If your family celebrates the feast day of Saint Nicholas, may it be filled with wonder and blessings!