Feast of Saint Nicholas
The Feast of Saint Nicholas is observed on December 6. It is the feast day of the 4th-century bishop Nicholas of Myra with particular regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts.
Nicholas is most well known in the West. His connection to the American character of Santa Claus is vague, but it can be traced. According to tradition, Nicholas’ parents died when he was young, leaving him a large sum of money. With his inheritance, Nicholas practiced charity, helping those in need.
In Germany and Poland, boys have traditionally dressed as bishops and begged alms for the poor. In Poland, good children wait for St. Nicholas to come and put special cookies, candies, and gifts under their pillows. Children who behaved badly may expect to find lumps of coal, potatoes, or switches. In the Netherlands, Dutch children put out a shoe filled with hay and a carrot for Saint Nicholas' horse. In the United States, one custom associated with Saint Nicholas Day is children leaving their shoes in the foyer on Saint Nicholas Eve in hope that Saint Nicholas will place some coins on the soles.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is on Wednesday, December 8, a holy day of obligation.
There is a common misconception that this feast day refers to the virginal conception and the birth of Christ, but in fact, it celebrates Mary's being conceived without inheriting Original Sin.
On this day, you are encouraged to read, reflect, pray, and act -- visit the USCCB website for resources!