The Sinterklaas Story

The Wondrous Traveler

Photo by Denice Envall Photo – Denice Envall

My grandmother, whose family was from Spain always observed their custom of celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6. As children, we would receive stockings brimming with ribbon candy, walnuts, pecans, mandarin oranges, kumquats, and gold-foiled wrapped chocolate coins. To this day oranges, walnuts, and chocolate always evoke Christmas for me. Although my sister and I did not really understand all the various holy days during the Christmas season, we quickly figured out the gifting cycle that started with St. Nicholas Day and finished with the arrival of the Three Kings.

Much later when I lived in The Netherlands, I was delighted to learn that St. Nicholas Day is a national holiday and the major feast day of their Christmas holidays, the real day of exchanging presents. St. Nicholas has always been dear to my heart since my childhood and because I once…

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