A day late, but (thanks to Taylor Marshall of the blog Canterbury Tales) here is some stuff about St. Nicholas I didn't know:
...the good Saint Nick allegedly "h-slapped" ("heretic slapped") the heresiarch Arius. You see, Arius wrongly taught that Christ was not fully divine. Rather, Arius taught that Christ had been created by God the Father.
During the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325), Arius was called upon to defend his position on the inferiority of Christ. Saint Nicholas just couldn't listen to all of Arius' nonsense and so he stood up and laid in to Arius with his fist.
The Emperor Constantine and the bishops present at the Council were alarmed by Nicholas' act of violence against Arius. They immediately stripped Nicholas of his office as a bishop by confiscating the two items that marked out a man as a Christian bishop: Nicholas' personal copy of the Gospels and his pallium (the vestment worn by all bishops in the East)...
See, I didn't even know that St. Nick was at the council of Nicaea, let alone that he personally punched Arius in the face. The things we leave out of our tales to children these days!
(We could have been promising the kids a stocking if they were good, and a socking if they turned out to be filthy little heretics.)
More at the link, including the story of the miracle that gives us the traditional Eastern iconography for St. Nicholas, and a painting of St. Nick waving his fist (and undoubtedly going, "Why, I oughta...bam! To the moon, Arius!")
Now, I happen to own a children's book called The Miracle of Saint Nicholas, and it's really quite a sweet one too, about a small village whose church has lain disused and empty since the soldiers came, and how (after the soldiers have gone) the villagers reveal one by one that they have preserved its treasures. The "miracle" in the book is just the "miracle" of human ingenuity, memory, service, and charity. And there's nothing wrong with that; it certainly seems like a miracle sometimes.
But I can't help but think that a kid's book based on this episode would be pretty darn cool.
He knows if you've been good
He knows if you've been rotten
He knows if you've been teaching that Jesus Christ was created, not begotten
SO you better not spout Christological lies,
You better not flout, I'm telling you why,
Santa Claus is taking YOU doooooown!
I wonder how this would fly if my eight-year-old performed it at the annual parish "Saints and Scholars" pageant.
SO SO TEMPTING.