Hey! Reblog or not, I’ve really been enjoying those stories from the last post. I pretty much have an unlimited appetite for Christmas stories, I guess. I liked the Kate Douglas Wiggin one a lot– she’s underrated. And she was a very interesting person, a pioneer of Kindergarten as well as an author. And I liked the Napa Christmas story. Not great literature, but it was wonderful to read about Christmas in California terms– beautiful descriptions of our beautiful seasons. But don’t read that Benicia story for Christmas. It’s on the same page, but it’s not a Christmas story; it’s about the Virgin Mary’s evil twin or something, I really didn’t get it.
But we’re here to talk about St. Nicholas.
I love St. Nicholas. I’m a bit sorry we don’t have him, really, around here. Especially now that Santa Claus is getting so thoroughly trashed by the commercial Christmas industry. I mean, I love Santa Claus, I’m totally fine with “Miracle on 34th Street,” but have you seen some of this junk? These made-for-TV movies about Santa’s MBA kids, Santa’s no-good brother-in-law, etc. And there’s always something in it about somebody SAVING CHRISTMAS, by getting out the merchandise, of course.
I’ve got news for you, Christmas is already saved. For crying out loud, even the Grinch knew that. “‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.'”
What am I talking about? I don’t know.
Anyway, ST. NICHOLAS. Truly awesome guy. Let me give you a present for St. Nicholas’ Day. I can never get enough of this website– there’s so much on it, it’s hard to find your way back to the things you like. Try the screensaver. And the animated e-card.
Anyway, what a legend. I suppose ninety percent of it isn’t true, strictly speaking, but I was thinking this afternoon, how incredible it was to live a life which made such an impression of goodness, and kindness, that it continues to bear fruit in tales and images of goodness even after centuries and centuries.
Here’s a really nice St. Nicholas story from the site.
You know, I grew up in the days of print: things were written down, and they were WRITTEN DOWN PERMANENTLY. It’s only in the last few years, when I’ve finally had my own computer, and my niece explained to me about fan fiction, that I’ve sort of gotten the feel of what it must have been like in the good old days of oral tradition. I don’t want to oversimplify it– oral tradition is also very carefully transmitted, more often than not– but there’s always that sense of fluidity there, which you sense in ancient documents, but which I always had a hard time imagining, till I saw the modern version taking place before my eyes. People like to tell stories about the people they like, and admire. Which accounts for some very weird stories about Gilgamesh.
So apparently St. Nicholas has come in for a huge share of this, because how can you not love him? There’s reality (he WAS real), and there’s canon legend, more or less, and then it seems there are a million made-up stories. I love the one I linked to above! But as with all fan fiction, some storytellers are better than others. Some don’t seem to get the point of the character at all.
Like, read this one.
Say what? What is that, psychopath St. Nicholas? And I was complaining about cheesy Santa Claus movies. But really, visit that site, and Happy St. Nicholas Day. May he give you all the best gifts, and what your heart desires.
I wish someone would do a site like that for St. Lucy!