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Saint Nicholas Day: My Favorite Holiday Tradition

I’m a huge fan of holiday traditions — and now that I’m in college 800+ miles away from my family, keeping up traditions during the holiday season has been the best way to stay connected to home. Not only do they give you the rush of nostalgia you need, but they make your everyday adulting life seem a bit less boring. For me, holidays have always been the best days of the year, and even if I’m just going to work or class, I always love to find some time in my day to celebrate.

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year because it’s the holiday that truly never ends. Yes, I’m the person who starts blasting “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” on November 1st. And I’m sorry, but you can’t make me feel bad about it. The longer the season, the more holly and jolly I am — and who doesn’t want to extend their good mood by a few more weeks?

One of my favorite moments during the holiday season, however, falls during the first week of December. Growing up, my family celebrated Saint Nicholas Day, a holiday based on the saint who would visit children and reward them for good behavior. A lot of religions believe the tale of Santa Claus was based on Saint Nicholas, which is why we hear his name in so many Christmas songs.

For me, Saint Nicholas day meant “pre-Christmas” and for my family, it marked the beginning of the holiday season. Celebrated on Dec. 6, it was always the first night we lit up our home for the holiday season. On the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, children would set their shoes by the door and wake up in the morning to see them filled with goodies from the saint.

For my sister and I, Saint Nick would always fill our shoes with a special Christmas ornament for the tree, our favorite holiday candies, and some form of Christmas apparel to wear to school before the holiday arrived. It was always such a fun surprise to wake up to in the morning and it sparked the Christmas spirit on a random day in December.

Luckily, my family has kept this tradition going even as my sister and I grow older, and I can always look forward to a Saint Nicholas Day care package in the mail the first week of December. Even though I love to start celebrating Christmas way earlier than my family, I am so grateful I can keep this tradition alive and think back to all my wonderful holiday memories growing up.

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Lena is currently a senior at the University of Central Florida and very emotional about it. She serves as HCUCF's President and Campus Correspondent and is studying hospitality in hopes of making her childhood dreams of getting paid to travel the world come true. She is head over heels in love with all things aesthetically pleasing, so what could be better than working a job that will result in cute photos? While she's not in school or checking out the tacky tourist attractions around Orlando, you can find her spending more money than she has on concerts, clothes, and crappy coffee. She is a low-key movie addict and a high-key Instagram addict. If you want to see what she's up to when she's not hiding behind her laptop screen, you can follow her on Instagram @lena.daniels 
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