St. Nicholas, one of my daughter's adopted saints, is best known as his contemporary, Americanized alter-ego, Santa Claus, but this bishop from centuries past and saint has a deep story of loving and giving - to the point of saving lives.
I first learned about St. Nicholas Day from my kindergartener in Catholic school. There, they set out their shoes before rest time and received a treat. I dug a little more into the real story, and realized this was a fun way to sneak a bit of faith back into the all-too-commercialized Christmas spending season.
Each Dec. 5, our children set out their slippers in front of our tree. They wake this morning to a simple gift in their slippers, typically a candy and a small religious-themed gift like a prayer card or book.
I'm a bit saddened that some of their friends don't enjoy this Advent tradition in their home. It's an easy way to reinforce the reason for the season, without it getting lost in the busy gift-giving shuffle of Christmas gift exchanges.
My children are again looking forward to setting out their slippers before they go to bed on Dec. 5.
This year, they are getting some chocolate coins with St. Nicholas's image printed on them. (You can find the pattern here.) I purchased the chocolate on Halloween clearance, but you can easily find chocolate gold coins in the Hanukkah section as well.
As far as an activity, I'm torn between putting this project in their shoe (size determining it, I'm sure), or into their stocking. I stumbled on this great project online for children to build and create their own wooden rosary holder.
Illuminated Ink creates these kits, which the kids assembly, paint and decorate. I thought it was perfect for my little guy who wants to build things as well as my artist in residence. He'll be getting a kit for St. Michael the Archangel, the protector and a saint he is drawn to, and my daughter will be getting Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other saints offered include Our Lady of Fatima, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Saint Joseph, and there's even a 10 pack if you need multiple gifts. The kits run about $10 each on Amazon, including shipping costs.
We've also given book gifts in our past. Some you might consider include:
How do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day in your home? Share your ideas below.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!