The legend of Saint Nicholas tells the story of a pious man who would leave coins and treats in the shoes of children in need. Now in modern times, children's shoes are filled with treats and gifts. Shutterstock

The main December holiday in the United States is Christmas, however there is another festival, St. Nicholas Day, which is hugely popular in Europe and shockingly in Wisconsin! The festival is celebrated on December 6th and honors the surviving legend of Saint Nicholas, who had a reputation for secret gift giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him. The folklores and legends surrounding Saint Nicholas and his generous acts spawned the figure of Santa Claus, who brings the good gifts, while the naughty receive coal, the British Father Christmas also comes from the Saint Nicholas legend, and the Dutch Sinterklaas. In celebration of the Christian saint who inspired so many yuletide figures and traditions, we have collected six poems to honor and remember Saint Nicholas on December 6th.

“Finds Us Quickly If You Can”

Nicholas, I beg of you, Drop something into my shoe, Something sweet or sweeter. Thank you, Saint and Peter!

Put your long red mantle on, St. Nicholas, good and holy man, Drive your sleigh from Amsterdam And find us quickly if you can.

“St. Nicholas Verse”

Upon his snow white steed With wind and lightning speed St. Nicholas leaves the sky And comes a-riding by

The little hare hops nigh And lifts his nose up high The stag with pointing horn Leaps over bush and thorn

And all the creatures dear Are drawing quickly near Before St. Nicholas bow Their little heads so low

And we will learn a tune Of sun and star and moon And sing our happy lay Sing on St. Nicholas Day!

“Saint Nicholas”

Tonight when it is dark Saint Nicholas may come. He loves to bring a big surprise. He gives the children toys.

Cookies, apples, Balls and games, Bells and whistles, Dolls and trains. Surprises for the boys. Surprises for the girls. Saint Nicholas is our friend in heaven. He is the children's saint.

We thank you, good Saint Nicholas! We thank you for the toys! We thank you, good Saint Nicholas! You bring us many joys.

“A Song For Saint Nicholas”

Welcome, friend! St. Nicholas, welcome!

Bring no rod for us tonight! While our voices bid thee welcome, Every heart with joy is light.

"Tell us every fault and failing; We will bear thy keenest railing

So we sing, so we sing: Thou shalt tell us everything! "Welcome, friend! St. Nicholas, welcome! Welcome to this merry band! Happy children greet thee, welcome! Thou art gladdening all the land.

"Fill each empty hand and basket; 'Tis thy little ones who ask it.

So we sing, so we sing: Thou wilt bring us everything!"


You have shown us, generous saint, the real meaning of Christmas— yet not just religiosity amongst the still-too-many presents. O God, grant us instead the glorious indecency of the great too-much which is the grace of your Son Jesus Christ, birthed in boundless sharing of all that we have with those in need, Feast upon Feast of Incarnation, world without end. Amen.

“A Rhyme for Nicholas”

Nicholas, Saint of Children, Loves to spend his wealth On pretty toys for girls and boys, Leaving them by stealth. The wind in the chimney Hears children call: "Bring me this, Saint Nicholas! Bring me that, Saint Nicholas!

A silky scarf, A bag of sweets, A big gold ball!"

Nicholas, Saint of Sailors, Children of the sea, When their sails are torn by gales Close at hand is he. The wind in the rigging Hears the sailors cry: "Save us here, old Nicholas! Save us there, good Nicholas! Saint of Sailors, Bring us safe Home, high and dry!"

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