Vintage Saint Nicholas
The exhibit was in the lobby cases at the Holland Museum in Holland, Michigan, from December 1, 2011—December 30, 2011. Free admission.
Saint Nicholas—the real Santa Claus—was born about a.d. 280 in Patara, a coastal town in what is now Turkey. He became known far and wide for his generosity to the poor, love for children, actions for justice, and a special association with the sea, ships and sailors. He served as Bishop of Myra, near his hometown. His many acts of compassion and mercy led people to revere him as protector and helper for those in need.
As his stories and legends spread, Nicholas became one of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages and continues so today. He still visits many European children on his Feast Day, December 6th. These artifacts, primarily from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reflect his popularity as a religious figure and cultural gift-giver in much of Europe.