Thank you for the information, Nanette! You know, I went to 3 different Catholic schools, and as I remember it, we never learned any of that about St. Nick's (although the holiday was, of course, talked about in school). I assume it was because we were in one of the areas with a strong tradition of celebrating the holiday, so the parishes opted to downplay that information.
MamaScout - we always do a clemintine in the toe of the sock, a bag of nuts, some chocolates, and a couple of small toys. This year, I think we'll have maybe some silly bands, temporary tatoos and a small action figure. If the children need new slippers for the winter (which we do this year!), I usually get them a pair, too. Otherwise I throw a pair of holiday socks ($1 at Target ;)) in there.
Your choices sound perfect!
When we were young, we got hugs stockings stuffed to the gills with candy. When I got to be a teen and was suddenly weight and calorie concious, my mom switched to putting special fresh fruit (the kind she wouldn't spring for normally) in my stocking for me. What a funny sight that was - the stocking all stretched out to accomodate a pineapple and some pomegranates. ;)