The unfortunate overshadowing of St. Nick

St. Nick supporters plead for stronger recognition in the field of holiday celebrations


Photo by Josh Wormann

WAITING FOR ST. NICK: Traditionally, children will leave a pair of shoes by the fireplace for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts and crafts. Being close to the celebration of Christmas, this holiday’s gifts are often similar to stocking stuffers, with the addition of St. Nicholas related candy.

With Thanksgiving passing by, more holidays are coming up, and the Rebel community is getting excited for Christmas and the New Year. While these are two very important events in the wintertime, there are many other holidays that are being overshadowed, including Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and most importantly, St. Nicholas Day.

St. Nicholas Day celebrates the feast of St. Nicholas. Most people, especially good Christian boys and girls, know the story of St. Nick. Basically, he was a very generous man who used his late parents’ fortune to help the sick, poor, and suffering, including persecuted Christians.

As a result of St. Nick’s great achievements, we celebrate December 6 as St. Nicholas Day. Children will traditionally leave their shoes by the fireplace, and the spirit of St. Nick will surprise them with small but meaningful gifts, such as chocolate coins, candy, toys, games, and crafts, such as Christmas ornaments, which have become increasingly popular St. Nick Day gifts in recent years.

Here’s where the problem begins. Christmas is a great holiday and everything, but we continuously let it overshadow St. Nick Day. Of course, celebrating the birth of Je- sus is one of the most important things we do, but the way we culturally celebrate Christmas is basically just ripping off St. Nick Day, with the idea that “Santa” comes and gives children bigger or more important gifts.

Also, I know a lot of cool people whose names are inspired by the gift-giving saint. In the film and entertainment industry we have legends like Parks and Recs’ Nick Offerman, National Treasure’s Nicolas Cage, failed rapper turned Wild ’n Out host Nick Cannon and Jonas Brother Nick Jonas. In the world of sports, we have Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, NBA champion and immortal meme Nick Young, and former Rebel runner and two-time cross country State qualifier Nick Perkins.

Although Nick Perkins moved onto his collegiate career at IUPUI, he is still in our hearts, and Roncalli still has many cool Nicks, including sophomores Nick McCarry,

Nick Conjelko, and junior Nick Moreno who take pride in their namesake, and enjoy the great urban myths about the man.

“I think the coolest thing that [St. Nick] did was fit down chimneys,” McCarry said.

While that may not be 100% accurate, there are other entertaining details to the story that many enjoy.

“The coolest thing St. Nicholas did was run over that one grandma with his reindeer,” Conjelko said.

Okay so that may not be completely true either, but the important thing is that we learn to be better, more generous people through his good deeds.

“I think it’s cool that St. Nick broke into people’s homes without consent to give people money and gold,” Moreno said.

Conjelko, for example, has used this side of St. Nick’s story as inspiration to perform his own charitable acts.

“One time I gave my shoes to Noah Witmer, [which] exposed my feet,” Conjelko said.

Even in odd cases such as these, it is refreshing to see such great actions and people be inspired by St. Nick, especially in our often divided and chaotic world. Hopefully, through celebrating St. Nicholas Day, we can collectively become more charitable and compassionate people.