St. Nicholas: Eastern Europe, Western Asia
Saint Nicholas was born in the villiage of Patara, in what is now modern-day Turkey, during the Roman Empire’s rule of the world. The Emperor Constantine came to power during his life. Saint Nicholas was made the Bishop of Myra at a very young age and was known as a man who gave all he had to the needy. He died on December 6th, 343. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated every year on December 6th in many countries in Europe and West Asia.
Ded Moroz or Grandfather Frost: Russia
Grandfather Frost resembles the appearance of Santa Claus, but instead of being secretive, Grandfather Frost shows up at New Year’s Eve parties and gives out gifts in person. He resembles Santa Claus, but also carries a large magical staff, like a wizard. He usually travels around with Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden, who is his granddaughter and helper. She is unique. No other gift-givers in other cultures have a female companion.
Father Christmas: England
The modern-day Santa Claus has his roots in the lore of Father Christmas. Father Christmas wears a longer coat and has a longer beard than the traditional Santa figure. The earliest mention of Father Christmas was in a Christmas carol attributed to Richard Smart from the mid-15th century. He is not described as giving gifts to children, rather he is announcing the celebration of Christ’s birth, calling all people to eat and drink.
Joulupukki or Christmas Goat: Finland
Rooted in pagan traditions, the Christmas Goat’s workshop is located in the mountains of Korvatunturi, Lapland. He doesn’t sneak around like his Western counterpart, but instead knocks on the door Christmas Eve and asks who has been good. Joulupukki does not have elves, but dwarves as helpers that ride goats.
Pere Noel: France
Pere Noel saved three children from a butcher who kidnapped them. Pere Noel leaves gifts if the children have been good, or, traditionally, the bad kids will be spanked by the butcher, Le Pere Fouettard.
Looking to get in shape during the holiday season? Here is a list of runs happening around the First Coast during the holidays. What better way to burn some of those extra feast day calories?
1. Turkey Clot Trot
November 22- Metropolitan Park
2. Casa Jingle All the Way 5k
December 6: Jekyll Island
3. Running of the Bulls 5k
December 6: Hemming Plaza
4. Reindeer Run Half Marathon and 5k
December 7: Fernandina Beach
5. Divas Half Marathon
December 7: St. Augustine Beach
6. Festival of Lights 5k
December 13: San Marco Square
7. Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
December 20: Jacksonville Landing
8. 38th The Last Gasp Cross Country Race
December 21: Jacksonville University
9. 32nd Annual Jacksonville Bank Marathon and 5k
December 28: The Bolles School
Embrace the true spirit of the holiday season by giving back while you shop! Here is a list of stores that you can build karma while you shop for those you love.
1. The non-profit Vision is Priceless is partnering with The Shoppes of Avondale to take care of children and adults on the First Coast who need eye exams, prescription glasses or other eye care. Check out http://www.visionispriceless.org/events/events-2/holidayshopping/ to find out more about this one-day shopping event on November 18th that will give back to this non-profit.
2. Bluetique is an upscale thrift store located in Ponte Vedra Beach. Bluetique is associated with the Goodwill thrift store chain and the revenue generated by sold goods is used to provide education and jobs to people with disabilities and special needs.
832-2 A1A N., Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl 32082
Mon. – Sat.: 10 – 7 p.m., Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.
3. New to You Resale Store sells donated items like furniture, clothes, electronics, books, sporting goods and more. Funds raised from the resale store are used to provide assistance to individuals and families in need through the Barnabas non-profit in Nassau County.
930 S. 14th St., Fernandina Beach, Fl 32034
Mon. – Sat.: 9:30 – 5:30 p.m.
4. The Purple Dove Resale Center sells donated items to provide prevention and intervention services to domestic violence victims and to educate the community to change behaviors and attitudes that relate to domestic violence.
474311 E. SR 200, Fernandina Beach, Fl 32034
Mon. – Fri.: 10 – 5 p.m., Sat.: 9 – 5
5. The Beam Thrift Store in Jacksonville Beach sells donated items to fund BEAM services to families in need. Profits may buy a struggling family’s groceries, pay an electric bill or rent.
1110 Shetter Ave., Jacksonville Beach, Fl 32250
Tues. – Sat.: 10 – 5 p.m.
6. The City Rescue Mission Thrift Store helps pay for the programs offered at CRM as well as give work experience to the people in the LifeBuilders program.
5343 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, Fl 32205
Mon. – Sat.: 9 – 4 p.m.
7. The non- profit Betty Griffin House has two thrift store locations on the First Coast that raise funds to offer protection, counseling, assistance and transitional support to victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
1961 A1A S., St. Augustine, Fl 32080
Mon. – Sat.: 9 – 6 p.m.
445 SR 13, Fruit Cove, Fl 32259
Mon. – Sat.: 9 – 6 p.m., Sun.: 12 – 5 p.m.
8. Goldfinch Boutique sells charity bracelets and donates 25% of the profits from the bracelets to nine national and international non-profits.
77 San Marco Ave. Suite 1, St. Augustine, Fl 32084
Mon. – Sat.: 11 – 6 p.m., Sun.: 12- 5 p.m.