December 16, 2022
Ever wonder where some of the best-loved holiday traditions
Saint Nicholas was a Christian bishop who grew up an orphan.
He used his inheritance to provide for the poor and sick and is the basis for
the popular character of Santa Claus. He was believed to have died on Dec. 6,
now known as the feast of St. Nicholas.
Stockings, clothing rather than the decorations of today,
were first hung by the fireplace to dry. Legend has it that the first stockings
were filled with gold coins when St. Nicholas anonymously helped a widower who
worried that his daughters, though beautiful, were too poor to marry.
Christmas trees originated in Germany when Martin Luther was
walking through the woods and noticed how beautiful the stars were, shining through
fir trees. He cut one down, took it home, and added small candles so that his
wife could enjoy the sight.
In 1670, the choirmaster at
the Cologne Cathedral in Germany handed out sugar sticks to keep his young
singers quiet during the long Living Creche ceremony. In honor of the occasion,
he had the candies bent into shepherd’s crooks which have endured today.
Leaving milk and cookies for
Santa became a popular practice during the Great Depression. Parents wanted to
teach their children the importance of giving to others and expressing
gratitude for what they received. Today, the tradition continues and even the
reindeer get a treat!