Carol is the person behind St. Nicholas Center and the creator of www.stnicholascenter.org. She's also developed the Center's traveling exhibit and the display and activity kits available for use by churches, schools and organizations.
Carol with some German St. Nicholas nutcrackers
I first became interested in St. Nicholas when our children were small. I wanted them to understand that there was a person of faith behind Santa Claus—a real person who served God and gave gifts to help others. We hoped that understanding who Santa really was, Saint Nicholas, would help them connect faith and giving. And, just maybe, it would help avoid some seasonal greed.
Living in Holland, Michigan, we added Dutch touches to our St. Nicholas Day. On the evening of December 5th, our three children put their wooden shoes, filled with carrots, on the hearth. In the morning the boys would find two matchbox cars and a mesh bag of gold Dutch chocolate coins. Our daughter might find a piece of jewelry or special barrettes. Simple things, but they brightened an Advent day and gave an opportunity to talk about St. Nicholas.
Myers first St Nicholas
St Nicholas Center Collection
I wanted to have a figurine of the good bishop for St. Nicholas Day. But there wasn't one to be found. Years went by with no success (this was before Santa collecting had become popular and different kinds of Santas were hard to come by). In the early 1980s I finally found a corn husk St. Nicholas in a half-price bin. I purchased several—for friends who also celebrated the good saint. He was okay, but not quite what I really wanted. And so the search continued. As time passed, many wonderful Bishops Nicholas have been found—and that is how it all began. I've often said, had the first one been different, he might have also been the last one!
—Carol Peterkin Myers
The Twenty-first Week after Pentecost, 2002
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Carol Myers, creator and editor of StNicholasCenter.org, belongs to Grace Episcopal Church in Holland, Michigan, and serves on the vestry. Before that she was an elder in the Reformed Church in America, serving on numerous denominational task forces and as moderator of the RCA's Commissions on Worship and Church Order. She has led many workshops on families celebrating the church year. She's also been a trustee of New Brunswick Theological Seminary and the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. She is currently serving on the board of Bread for the World, a collective Christian voice influencing government policy on behalf of poor and hungry people. She attended Whitworth University and has a BA in English from the University of Iowa. She and her husband David, a social psychologist who has written books on happiness and intuition, as well as other things, live in Holland, Michigan, and are the parents of three grown children.