BUT, of course, my children much prefer the other famous stories of St. Nicholas or ʻSanta Clausʻ which is a rough distortion of his name. The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887) recounts one of his famous stories here:
"ST. NICHOLAS - Throughout his life he retained the bright and guileless manners of his early years, and showed himself the special protector of the innocent and the wronged. Nicholas once heard that a person who had fallen into poverty intended to abandon his three daughters to a life of sin. Determined, if possible, to save their innocence, the Saint went out by night, and, taking with him a bag of gold, flung it into the window of the sleeping father and hurried off. He, on awaking, deemed the gift a godsend, and with it dowered his eldest child. The Saint, overjoyed at his success, made like venture for the second daughter; but the third time, as he stole away, the father, who was watching, overtook him and kissed his feet, saying: “Nicholas, why dost thou conceal thyself from me? Thou art my helper, and he who has delivered my soul and my daughters’ from hell.”
It is from these and many other stories of St. Nicholas that he is known for his generosity and care of the young and innocent. Many customs were formed throughout the centuries involving the Feast of St. Nicholas and has, though thoroughly commercialized, resulted in some of the ʻSanta Clausʻ traditions that the secular world embraces today. There are many Advent Traditions, however, that still properly honor this great Saint on the day of or on the eve of his Feast day, December 6th. Here are few mentioned in ʻAround the Year with the TRAPP FAMILYʻ, Maria Augusta Trapp, 1955. Pantheon Books :
"While in some places the children only put their shoes on the window sill on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day and find them filled with candies, cookies, oranges, and dried fruit the next morning (but only the good ones; the bad ones find a switch), in other parts St. Nicholas comes in person. On the eve of December 5th . . . The holy bishop (Father of the house dressed as St. Nicholas), in his pontifical vestments, accompanied by Krampus, would enter the room while everybody stood up reverently. . . He calls each member of the household forward, rewarding the good and admonishing the less good. The good children will get a package of sweets, whereas Krampus aims at the legs of the children who did not deserve one. After everyone has received his due, the holy bishop addresses a few words of general admonition to the whole family, acting as a precursor to the One Who is to come, drawing their thoughts toward Christmas, asking them to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Holy Child."
image from The Pictorial Lives of the Saints (Shea, J.G., 1887). Public Domain