Tuesday, December 2, 2014

St. Nicholas, part 2

As mentioned in yesterday's post, we have asked a couple of guest authors to post their ideas and traditions about St. Nicholas Day -- which is coming up on December 6th.  This one is written by Kerry Williamson, who writes The Potter's Shed blog.  She and her husband and four children live in Monroe, North Carolina.

Recently, I’ve been trying to recall when we first started celebrating Saint Nicholas Day.  You see, I sent my eldest off to college this fall, and I’ve found myself reviewing a lot of our family traditions wondering what will “stick” and what won’t as our family begins to really grow up and out.  He’s our first out of the house, but the next two will be coming in close succession.  (Thankfully we have a caboose baby who will delay the final nest-emptying by several years).  Anyway, back to Saint Nicholas . . .

 I was trying to recall when we first started this tradition.  As best I can tell, we seemed to have begun celebrating Saint Nicholas’ feast day (Dec 6th) somewhere around 2004, when our eldest would have been about 8 years old.  Will it really be our 10th Saint Nicholas feast celebration this year? 

Neither my husband nor I grew up with Saint Nicholas….only SANTA.  We started it as a way to allow more emphasis to be placed on Christ’s birth on the 25th, and as a way to honor a great and much-loved saint.  No year’s celebration has really been the same as the year before, though.

Some years we’ve had a great morning feast, goody-filled shoes, new decorations, and a day of movies and fun.

Some years we’ve only put out shoes and decorations

Some years we’ve had shoes only.

But, we’ve celebrated.  And I hope, even if my children don’t continue this tradition in their own homes, that they have developed a love and fondness for a man who loved Christ…and was a REAL person.  It’s what I hope they learn about all the saints we read about (some of whom we feast) – that they were real actual people from history, even if some of their tales are hazy with the mist of legend.

If you are interested in adding this feast day to your family tradition, it can be as elaborate or simple as you can like….in fact start simply!  Pick a tradition or two that works for you and give it a try.  Here are some ideas to get you started…but just check out Pinterest or Google “Saint Nicholas” and you’ll get many more!

  • Put shoes out for St Nicholas to fill
  • Maybe consider leaving him a nice beer as they do in Belgium to say, “Thank you!”
  • Have a breakfast “feast” (this can be a simple as store-bought cinnamon rolls)
    • We’ve had gingergread waffles, soft-boiled eggs, peppermint hot cocoa as part of our feast
  • Make gingerbread cookies in shape of St Nicholas
  • Have some fun with a few days of “Secret Santa” good deeds for each other or neighbors
  • Make a St Nick display with all your Santa/Father Christmas/St Nick decorations in one spot
  • Read a story about St Nicholas, some ones we like:
    • Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
    • Santa’s Favorite Toy by Hisako Aoki (a sweetly illustrated story that has “Santa” pointing to Christ.)
    • Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi
    • Saint Nicholas: The True Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Steigemeyer
    • Wonderworker: The True Story of How Saint Nicholas Became Santa Claus by Vincent Yzermans

You’ll find lots more ideas and resources at the SaintNicholas Center!  You can also read more at my blog: The Potter’s Shed.

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