Saint Nicholas, the real life inspiration for Santa Claus, was born around 280 AD in what is known today as Turkey.

His parents died when Nicholas was very young, leaving him with a large inheritance. Rather than spend it all on himself, Nicholas used the money to help those less fortunate than himself. As an adult, he became a bishop and was known for his generosity and kindness, especially toward children and the poor.

After his death, his legend grew. Children who left their shoes out by the fire would awake to find money or candy inside and this inspired the tradition of leaving out stockings for Santa.

On St. Nicholas Day, start the fun early by surprising your family with a gift in their shoes. Just make sure its not something sharp or uncomfortable!

Today we also celebrate: National Pawnbrokers Day, National Miner’s Day, National Microwave Oven Day, and National Gazpacho Day.