One of the biggest days on our calendar is rapidly approaching. Mark Saturday, Oct. 13, for a trip up to the Northshire, as we tend to call it up this way (Bennington County in Vermont is one of those unique places where, growing out of colonial times, counties were referred to as shires, and Bennington County, for some reason, had two – a south and north shire – roughly divided between Arlington and Shaftsbury).

The reason? Well, it’s the 28th year in a row that Santa has come to visit the shop – and set up his own shop outside the store in a tent to hear from (mostly) the young girls and boys who stop by to tell Santa about what they’d really like to find under the Christmas tree, and assure him that, yes indeed, they belong on the “good” list.

It’s all great fun and a terrific tradition we’ve enjoyed here at Christmas Days ever since 1990.

So Number one, mark your calendars for Saturday, October 13, when from 11 a.m. through 3 p.m., Santa will be here to check things out, hear what the kids and grandkids have to say, and more importantly, have them hear what Santa has to say.

Number two – all of this got us re-interested in how Santa came to be in the first place. Did you ever wonder where the jolly old elf came from?

The original St. Nicholas grew out of a 4th century AD Turkish bishop, known as St. Nicholas of Myra.According to Wikipedia, Saint Nicholas of Myra[a] (traditionally 15 March 270 – 6 December 343),[3][4][b] also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek city of Myra in Asia Minor (modern-day Demre, Turkey) during the time of the Roman Empire.[7] He is revered by many Christians as a saint.[8] Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nicholas the Wonderworker.[c] Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His reputation evolved among the faithful, as was common for early Christian saints, and his legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through Sinterklaas.