Saint Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra in the province of Lycia, and we celebrate the Feast of Saint Nicholas on December 6th. Saint Nicholas is remembered through legends as a charitable man who rewarded good children with small gifts of fruit, food, or candy, and who punished wicked children with coal or sacks of dust. Known for saving innocents and rescuing murdered children, blessing ships and calming seas, Saint Nicholas is perhaps most admired for providing food during famine.

The legends of Saint Nicholas differ from country to country, and even in the U.S. we sometimes confuse Saint Nicholas with Santa Claus. Yet Saint Nicholas is unlike Santa Claus, who is epitomized as giving copious gifts of toys. Saint Nicholas was a man of immense kindness and his gifts fell nothing short of providing freedom from poverty and despair. The life that Saint Nicholas led was a true example of faith made whole by actions of genuine charity. 

While it's well known that Saint Nicholas was kind and giving to children, what is less known--at least here in the U.S.--is that he was also a champion for ending hunger. Legends tell of his night visits on the eve of December 6th delivering food and small gifts to households. 

Thanksgiving is over, and we're fully launched into the season of consumerism. The relatively new traditions of Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week are already ingrained in our society. As a retail shop, I certainly am not one to criticize the buying frenzy. Small businesses like mine rely on the spirit of giving to make our living. But we can still embrace the ideology of Saint Nicholas and strive to end hunger by sharing our bounty with those less fortunate. I'll be holding onto that ideal this holiday season, and I invite you to join me.

Because HO HO HO can become HOPE HOPE HOPE!