From Catholic Culture:
St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. He practiced both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy, and fasted twice a week. When he heard that a father who had fallen into poverty was about to expose his three daughters to a life of sin, Nicholas took a bag of gold and secretly flung it through the window into the room of the sleeping father. In this way, the three girls were dowered and saved from mortal sin and hell.
Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, is undoubtedly one of the most popular saints honored in the Western world. In the United States, his memory has survived in the unique personality of Saint Claus — the jolly, rotund, white-bearded gentleman who captivates children with promises of gifts on Christmas Eve. Considered primarily as the patron saint of children, Nicholas is also invoked by sailors, merchants, bakers, travelers and pawnbrokers, and with Saint Andrew is honored as the co-patron of Russia.
This is our first year truly "celebrating" and honoring St. Nicholas. We've been reading as much as we can about the saint. Demi's books are some of my favorites and her book on St. Nicholas is no exception. (Also check out Mother Teresa, Jesus, and Mary.)
I don't know how traditional it is, but in addition to our small family celebration, we are having a St. Nicholas Party this weekend for our closest family and friends. Several St. Nicholas treats are on the menu, and I think we'll have the kids decorate some St. Nicholas cookies (and other Advent/Christmas shapes).
To remember the saint's generosity and because I am Czech, St. Nicholas fills stockings in our house (not shoes), so I'll be sure to share pictures later!
Now it's time for my Sidekick and I to start our baking for tonight and Saturday!