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The ToyDirectory MOM
By Hollie Bethany
November 1, 2002

It's almost Saint Nicholas Tag, so dust off your wooden shoes and set them by the door.


Yes Virginia, Santa does things a little differently in Europe. Over there, kids don’t wait by the chimney on Christmas Eve, but by the door on December 6th, Saint Nicholas’ Feast day. Because our son Hunter was born in Germany, and because our family chooses to separate the religious aspects of Christmas from the legend of Saint Nicholas, we celebrate his arrival on December 6th with the Wooden shoes left by the door and filled with treats.

For Catholic saints, a feast day is held on the day of the saint’s death. But because Hunter is only three-years-old, we refer to the 6th of December as “Saint Nicholas’ Birthday.” We bring a cupcake to the Santa at our local mall, and give to a local charity when the volunteer visits with the children at Hunter’s daycare, or at our home. On Christmas, the gifts we share are from Baby Jesus or us.

There are many that would like to banish the jolly old elf in an attempt to de-commercialize Christmas. I say, no way! The legends of Saint Nicholas can be great learning lessons for small children; better to give him back his day than get rid of him. Last year was a very troubling time for adults, and children could not help but feel the stress from us. In one story of Saint Nicholas, he asks that the lives of two travelers from a warring nation be spared since they were not a party to the fighting. When our Charity Santa came by, I shared this story with him and the children. The moral is that just because someone is different from us, it’s no reason to blame him or her for the actions of others.

Our world has taken an awful lot of blows lately, and as Auntie Mame would say, “We need a little Christmas right this very minute.” If you want to invoke the true meaning of Christmas, think about celebrating the legend of Saint Nicholas on December 6th. There are some great web sites containing many of the stories of Saint Nicholas’ kindness and generosity; make the day a learning experience as well one to love each other.

Hunter and I will be bringing our mall Santa a chocolate Monster’s Inc cupcake, then delivering some food to the local animal shelter. Try doing something special for someone on December 6th; you’ll never think of Santa the same way again.

~ Happy Playing! ~

Just the Facts:

Name: Hollie Bethany AKA The ToyDirectory MOM
Email: hbethany@toydirectory.com
Education: MBA International Economics and Marketing, Augusta State University
Toy Industry Experience: Ty Europe, GyGy Inc., Aquatat.com, SunKids
Child: Hunter, age 2 ½, thinks he is a stunt man.
About my column: A sometimes humorous toy industry/business issues perspective as tainted by the eyes of a mother.


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