When I was a little kid, the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6th) was a big deal at our house. We would each put out our stocking the night before, and in the morning we would find it filled with candy and little toys. There was probably never anything in there worth more than a dollar, but it was SO fun to get these little treats delivered to us WEEKS before Christmas.
We've kept the tradition going for our family. Olivia really enjoys it. But she's convinced that the presents are for her birthday (I guess we've had a lot of birthdays around here lately). St. Nick managed to keep the candy to a minimum and fill most of her stocking with books, a Christmas sing-a-long DVD and a puzzle.
I often wonder if many other people observe St. Nick day this way. It's a great excuse to treat yourself, too. In our case...new bedsheets. 700 thread count! Very soft.