Politics Magazine

Saint Nick

Posted on the 06 December 2023 by Steveawiggins @stawiggins

My wife and I have both noticed it.  December has been much busier than usual, and neither one of us works in retail.  We’re at the age when most people are considering retirement, but are both just settling into our careers.  But this is about December, not about us.  Today is December 6, Saint Nicholas Day to some.  What many people don’t realize is that this used to be “Christmas” for particular sets of folks.  You see, St. Nick was one of the many components of what would become Christmas.  His saint’s day was/is today and it was traditional among some early American communities to pass out gifts today because of the tradition that Nicholas was one of the more generous saints.  While at Nashotah House the rather somber Advent atmosphere was broken this day when the Dean would hand out gold coins.  Well, chocolate coins covered in golden foil, but you get the picture.

Saint NickImage credit: National Library of Wales, public domain via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

In our capitalistic zeal to get Christmas down to just one day off, if that, we’ve targeted the twenty-fifth.  Saint Nicholas was rolled into Santa Claus and we could keep on working nineteen more days.  “Santa” was known by many names—Father Christmas, Christkindl, and Kriss Kringle, among others.  They were expected at different times in December, even as the Catholic Church had decided on this month to be Jesus’ birthday, to counter Roman celebrations of Saturnalia and Kalends (both of which were more than one day, I might add).  December, in other words, should be a festive month.  Instead, it’s become a busy season for squeezing everything in before taking some time off work.  Do we ever sit back and consider how ridiculous such hectic living is?

Don’t get me wrong—I love the Christmas season.  I save up vacation days every year to give myself a mini semester break.  When I’m feeling exhausted with September’s onslaught, if I can cast my eye as far as December I can feel some relief coming.  And I’m not sure why we don’t get offered a few more days in December.  Remote workers can’t always make it to the office holiday party, so maybe December 6 might be a remote worker’s mini Christmas day off?  The weary struggle to make it to the official Christmas could use a little refreshment just about now.  I don’t recall a December ever being this busy on the work front.  For the economy’s sake, hopefully those in retail aren’t finding themselves bored.  One thing that all of us might wish for, however, is a visit from Saint Nicholas.

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