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Saint Nicholas DayDecember 6
Saint Nicholas Day is a festival for children in much of Europe related to surviving legends of the saint, and particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts.
Observed in many European countries, St Nicholas Day is a festivity related to the saint -- a fourth-century bishop of Myra in what is now Turkey -- with a reputation as a bringer of gifts.
In some German homes, Nikolaus is celebrated by children placing a boot outside their front doors on the night of December 5 to December 6. St. Nicholas checks up on the children to see if they have been good and fills the boot with gifts.
In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas brings presents to every child that has been good in the past year.
In Italy, the Feast of San Nicola marks the official start of the holiday season much the way Thanksgiving here does in the United States, and the holiday season continues for one month until January 6th (the Epiphany).
"Santa Claus" is derived from the Dutch Sinterklaas.
Like the Father Christmas of British and Canadian traditions, the American version of Santa Claus is based on the legendary Saint Nicholas.
Other names for Santa Claus include St. Nikolaus, SinterKlass, Kris Kringle, Pere Noel, Joulupukki, Babbao Natale, Saint Basil, and Father First.
The image of the Santa Claus most common in North America was created by the German cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1863.
The Legend of Saint Nicholas
Legends of St. Nicholas
The History of Christmas
Santa Claus Costume
Personalized Christmas Stockings
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