December 6th is the feast day of St. Nicholas,
the forerunner of our Santa Claus.
St. Nicholas is known as a protector of children,
largely as a result of his re-animating and rescuing three lost boys
who inadvertently ended up being made into la viande by an evil butcher.
Not a very Christmas-y story.
This image of Saint Nicholas shows the 3 boys in the wooden tub:
However, Saint Nicholas Day
is celebrated in many European countries with great affection.
There are cookies and candies and presents--
often placed in children's shoes to surprise them when they awaken.
And children hear stories about the goodness of Saint Nicholas
and his devotion to the welfare of children.
I don't know where my mom got the idea to celebrate Saint Nicholas Day--
maybe because her grandparents
were immigrants from Germany--,
but she used to put butterscotch disk candies in our shoes
to surprise us on December 6th.
She was always thinking of fun things like that,
things that would make an ordinary school day more special.
I didn't awake to find any treats in my shoes today,
but I always think of December 6th as the feast of Saint Nicholas
and remember the candy from my mom.
Sometimes a sweet memory is better than candy.