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The History of St. Nicholas and His Association with Christmas
Unravel the fascinating history of St. Nicholas, the 4th-century Christian saint whose life and legends gave rise to the beloved figure of Santa Claus. In this lesson, we will explore the origins of St. Nicholas, his acts of generosity and kindness, and how he became a prominent figure in Christmas celebrations around the world.
A Brief History of St. Nicholas:
St. Nicholas, also known as Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint who lived in what is now modern-day Turkey. As a bishop, he was renowned for his benevolence, helping others in need and performing numerous miracles, many of which revolve around gift-giving or acts of charity.
GRAMMAR SECTION: Answer the ten following grammar questions to test your skill. If you get more than 8 correct I will send you a free gift.
1. In the context of Santa, which sentence demonstrates the present perfect tense: a) Santa has delivered all the presents. b) Santa will deliver all the presents. c) Santa is delivering all the presents.
2. Fill in the blank with the correct past perfect form: Before Maria went to sleep, Santa ______ (deliver) her gift.
3. Choose the correct future perfect sentence about Santa’s elves: a) The elves will have finished making all the toys by December 24th. b) The elves finished making all the toys by December 24th. c) The elves will finish making all the toys by December 24th.
4. Identify which sentence uses present perfect continuous tense: a) Santa has been checking his list twice. b) Santa checked his list twice. c) Santa will check his list twice.
5. Complete this sentence with the correct past perfect continuous form: The children ______ (wait) for an hour before they caught a glimpse of Santa in the sky.
6. Fill in the blanks using future perfect continuous tense: By midnight on Christmas Eve, Santa _____ (travel) around the globe to deliver gifts for _____ hours.
7. Rewrite this sentence in present perfect tense: “Santa delivered presents to children around the world.”
8. Identify which sentence is written in past perfect tense: a) Santa had already eaten all of the cookies when Timmy woke up. b) Santa eats all of the cookies when Timmy wakes up. c) Santa will eat all of the cookies when Timmy wakes up.
9. Correct this sentence that is intended to be in future perfect continuous tense: “By next Christmas, Santa’s reindeer are flying around for ten years.”
10. Combine these two sentences using past perfect tense and past simple tense to create one cohesive sentence: “The children hung their stockings above the fireplace.” “Santa placed gifts into their stockings.”
The Legendary Acts of St. Nicholas:
Many stories surround the life and deeds of St. Nicholas. One such legend tells how he secretly provided dowries for three impoverished sisters by throwing bags of gold through their window at night. In another tale, he saved sailors from a dangerous storm by calming the seas through his prayers. These miraculous acts gained him countless followers and made him synonymous with compassion and generosity.
VIDEO LISTENING SECTION: Listen to the story of St Nicholsa and answer the seven questions below:
- Did Santa Claus really exist? Who was he?
- When was St Nicholas born?
- Which country was St. Nicholas born in?
- What position (rank) did St. Nicholas hold in his church?
- What is a “dowery?”
- Why do people traditionally give three oranges as gifts at Christmas?
- When was the original St. Nicholas Day in Holland?
St. Nicholas and Christmas Celebrations:
The tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas’ feast day on December 6th began in Europe during the Middle Ages and eventually evolved into a prelude to Christmas festivities. Children would eagerly await presents from St. Nicholas under their pillows or shoes on the eve of his feast day.
It was in England that this European tradition melded with other customs to create our present-day image of Santa Claus as we know it today – a jolly old man with a white beard who travels on a sleigh led by reindeer delivering gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
A Visit from St. Nicholas
From Saturday 9th to 15th December