St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas, also called the bishop of Myra, was believed to be the model for our present-day Santa Claus. Early in life, St. Nicholas was orphaned. His wealthy parents succumbed to an epidemic. He went to live with his uncle, (also named Nicholas) the bishop of Patara.

He was very kind and generous. He had some wealth passed on by his parents, so he helped the poor.

There are many legends and myths surrounding this man. Here are a couple examples: He helped three poor sisters with their dowries to keep them from a life of prostitution. He saved three men falsely imprisoned and sentenced to death.

He became known as the protector of children and sailors and associated with gift-giving. The Dutch celebrate the feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6. The children put out their shoes the night before and in the morning, they would find gifts in them. Dutch immigrants brought these traditions of Sinter Klaas to America in the 1700s.

Here in America, St. Nicholas became Sinter Klaas then Santa Claus. Instead of giving gifts on December 6, he was incorporated into the Christmas holiday. Clement Clarke Moore depicted him in a poem in 1820 called “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” In 1881, Thomas Nast drew Santa with a red suit with white trim created for Coca-Cola advertisements.

So looking at all we know about St. Nicholas, aka Santa Claus, we can find some leadership traits:

Be generous.
Be kind.
Choose your reindeer wisely.
Make a list and check it twice.
Don’t pout, shout, or cry.
Be jolly.
Build a better workshop.
Listen to your elves.
Sing often.
Visit your subordinates.
Know who’s naughty or nice.

~ Jody Victor