Saint Nicholas Day

For the last few days, we’ve been reading this book about the true story of Saint Nicholas and his acts of kindness. It tells of three girls who couldn’t afford dowries to get married, and how Nicholas secretly dropped bags of gold coins into their house which landed by their shoes. I explained to the children that we remember Nicholas on the 6th of December because that was the day he died.

Last night when I put Aaron to bed, I suggested that he could leave his shoes outside the bedroom door. He also decided to leave his tiger there (the tigers are nothing to do with St. Nicholas Day, they were from a friend’s birthday party yesterday) “so he can see if Nicholas comes down from heaven and gives me some money so that I can get married”!

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Tabitha fell asleep in my arms before bedtime, so I had to put her shoes out for her.

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In the morning the children were excited to find their shoes stuffed with shiny chocolate coins to eat and pretty candy canes to eventually hang on our Christmas tree. We spent some time discussing giving and thinking about ways that we can show kindness to others, just like Nicholas and Jesus did. Over the next couple of weeks we will put some of those ideas into action, by donating our belongings to charity shops and doing random acts of kindness. There were also plenty of opportunities for kindness today, as Aaron was ill and spent most of the day in bed.

We don’t do Santa in our family, so this simple tradition is a lovely way to help explain the historical origin of Father Christmas whilst keeping the focus on giving. This website has lots of information about how St. Nicholas Day is celebrated around the world.

4 Comments

  1. Do you also know the story about St Nicholas when he was a boy? He was given a new coat for his birthday, and later that day he saw another child beating up a smaller child. He approached them and said to the bully: “What’s wrong?” Surprised that Nicholas was showing sympathy to him rather than his victim, the bully admitted, “I’m cold, and I want to take this boy’s coat to wear.” Nicholas took off his new coat, gave it to the bully and told him, “Next time, try asking for help before you start hitting”. History doesn’t relate what his parents said when he arrived home without his birthday present!

    • Sarah

      Thanks for sharing that story. 🙂 There seem to be quite a few different legends about Nicholas, some of which are rather gruesome!

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