Pat Shingleton: 'Nicholas to Claus'
Last Saturday was the Feast of St. Nicholas and has been celebrated since the fifth century. As noted in a previous column, Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra which is modern-day Turkey. The Little Blue Book-Advent and Christmas Seasons mentions that Nicholas anonymously aided the needy by tossing small bags of gold in their windows. Legend notes that the bags landed in stockings, drying near the fireplace. His generosity encouraged others to give gifts during Candlemas. English reformers replaced Nicholas with Father Christmas, believing his relationship was too close to the Catholic Church. Father Christmast changed to Santa Claus and Clement Moore gave him a sleigh, reindeer, a pipe, a bag and a chimney in "The Night Before Christmas."