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Toned photo of three red Christmas socks hanging on fireplaceAlthough we don’t have any white, fluffy snow on the ground in Central Wisconsin, there is definitely no doubt in our minds that we have entered the holiday season. With the blockbuster shopping deal ads continuously showing on television and lighted trees slowly appearing in home windows, it has become clear that Christmas is not far away.

But before we arrive at Christmas, we have a few other special holidays to get to first, including St. Nicholas Day. On Tuesday night, children will hang out their stockings or leave out their shoes and wake to find what ole St. Nick has left for them. If they have behaved throughout the year, they can expect to find all sorts of goodies like candy, toys and other small gifts, and if they have misbehaved, they will likely find nothing but a lump of coal.

St. Nicholas Day is a very common holiday in Europe, but not as well known here in the United States, so it should come as no surprise that many of us use the names, Santa Claus and St. Nicholas interchangeably. But the truth is that these two characters have a lot of key differences between them.

Aside from the fact that St. Nicholas was an actual person who lived in the 4th Century, he also gave simple gifts to those in need. According to legend, he encouraged practicing compassion everyday and actually became the model for Santa Claus himself.

Here at Lions Pride, we love the idea of St. Nicholas Day because we can relate directly to his message. With the help of our generous donors and supporters, we have the opportunity to give special children the gift of the great outdoors.

As you have likely already seen, childhood now is different than childhood at one time. With new and changing technology, children have a lot more entertainment options available such as video games, iPads and other electronic gadgets, they don’t have as much time to appreciate the beauty that lies right outside their front door.

Each summer, we’re proud to help bring children with special needs to Lions Camp to help show them the true value of Mother Nature. During their week away, they are able to camp, swim, hike, climb, kayak and enjoy outdoor living at its finest, all while building self-confidence, interdependence, social skills and environmental awareness that will help shape the rest of their childhood.

If you’re looking for a one of a kind gift this holiday season, consider making a donation in a loved ones name. (It could also make a great stocking stuffer!) You have the chance to cross a name off your shopping list and show a special child the joy of one of life’s simplest gifts – the wonders of nature at Wisconsin Lions Camp.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!