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TChristmas Stockingshis Saturday morning will mark the beginning of the lightly celebrated Saint Nicholas Day. Will you and your family be celebrating?

St. Nick’s Day is a big holiday in Europe but is surprisingly not as popular here in the United States. The tradition first began in 4th century Greece. Nicholas of Myra officiated as a bishop after dedicating his life to giving to others. Nicholas’ parents died in an epidemic when he was a young boy. With his large inheritance, he decided to use his wealth to help the less fortunate. His signature act was leaving gold coins in people’s shoes around the city.

The tradition has since evolved in North America. Today, children hang their stockings on the fireplace mantel on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day and awake to small gifts of candy, games and other fun trinkets. Of course, there is always the possibility that naughty children will wake to nothing, but a lump of coal if they have been bad throughout the year.

There are all sorts of stocking stuffer ideas out there for the children in your life. Little girls can receive bottles of nail polish; stickers or jewelry and little boys enjoy candy, toy cars and building blocks. Would you like to add another extra special gift to your child’s stocking? We have another idea to add to the list.

In addition to small games and delicious candy, teach them the value of charity by giving a donation in his or her name. Print off the certificate and add it to their stocking. The morning of Saint Nicholas Day, you can explain to them how this particular gift helps others. For instance with a donation to Lions Pride, they are helping children with special needs have fun at a week of summer camp, an experience that he or she will treasure for a lifetime.

Embody the spirit of Saint Nicholas with a gift that gives back. After all, it is the reason behind the season. Happy Saint Nicholas Day!