Many people believe it was Saint Nicholas. He was the bishop of Myra in Asia Minor back in the fourth century. One day this kind old man heard of a merchant who was too poor to give his three daughters money to be married. So St Nicholas dropped three bags of gold down the chimney of their house. Next morning the three girls found the bags of gold in their stocking, which they had hung up the night before.

That is why children in some countries hang up straight hoping that Santa Claus will fill those gifts. St Nicholas becomes the patron saint of children, and his feast day is on December 6th.

What happens on St Nicholas’s Day?

In some countries it is a children’s holiday and St Nicholas bring his gifts on December 6th, three weeks before Christmas. Other countries look forward to the visit of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, but some lucky children receive gifts on both days!

How does St Nicholas arrive in Holland?

On St Nicholas Eve, December 5th, a boat sails into Amsterdam carrying St Nicholas and his servant Black Peter. Good children get presents, but Black Peter chases the bad ones with his stick! Santa Claus comes from sankt Klaus, which was the Dutch name for St Nicholas.

Who leaves shoes by the fireside?

On Christmas Eve in France, children put their shoes by the fireside to be filled with presents by Pere Noel or Father Christmas. In some parts of France they keep a yule log burning for all the 12 days of Christmas.


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