The Washington Times-Herald

Our Perspective

December 8, 2011

St. Nick vs. Santa Claus

Jeffersonville — Our holiday tradition begins right around this time every year with a visit from St. Nick. He will be arriving at our house tonight to fill stockings with new boxes of Crayons, Hot Wheels cars and flavored lip glosses.

My husband doesn’t understand St. Nick.

“But why do we have a visit from St. Nick and then again from Santa Claus?” he asks.

“Because I was raised Catholic,” is my only answer.

I don’t know the real history of St. Nick or why he tries to compete with Santa every year, always showing up weeks in advance of our Christmas holiday. (I was never that good of a Catholic anyway.) I do know that St. Nick brings my kids much better gifts than the oranges he left in my stocking when I was their age.

Our kids have no problem believing. What’s the point of questioning the validity of someone who brings shiny new Hot Wheels cars and Dr. Pepper-flavored lip gloss?

We are very fortunate to have such traditions. Small gifts for stockings. Bigger gifts for Dec. 25. And much food and good cheer in between now and then.

Not only does Santa leave gifts under our tree in return for a few homemade chocolate chip cookies; but, he makes an appearance at our extended family’s Christmas Caravan every year.

It’s quite an event.

First, the entire family travels from one house to the next for a three-course meal of appetizers, main entrées and desserts served progressive-dinner style. The last house, known on the Christmas Caravan trail as the “dessert stop,” hosts Santa’s visit.

The trick is getting to the dessert stop in time to achieve a quality sugar buzz just before Santa Claus arrives, ringing his bells and singing, “Ho, ho ho!” in his deep-barreled voice as he enters through the front door.

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