The word "Noel" comes from France and means birthday. A French family always builds a creche and children think the Christ Child brings their gifts and fills their wooden shoes with sweets. At midnight the church bells chime, candles are lighted and the people go to church. When the family comes home a feast is served and it is nearly morning before the festivities end.
And to the Dutch, our children are ever thankful for the custom of jolly old Saint Nicholas. Nicholas was a very wealthy man and his main source of delight was making others happy. He would walk about town carrying bags of gold. If he saw a poverty-stricken family, he would throw coins through open windows or slip them under the doors. Although he tried to keep his work a secret. It was found out and little children followed the good man about town. Legend tells us he once dropped a bag of gold down a chimney and it fell into a stocking which was drying on the mantle. Thus originated the custom of hanging stockings or placing wooden shoes by the mantle. When Nicholas died, he was made the patron saint of little children. Santa Claus is the Dutch name of this Saint.