We Celebrated Saint Nicholas Day

Our family celebrates Saint Nicholas Day every year on December 6. It’s a Polish tradition, and since my husband is Polish (and now me and our children, too), we established this tradition in our home.

Here’s a little bit about Saint Nicholas condensed from stnicholascenter.org:

“Nicholas was born to a wealthy Christian family. After his parents died in an epidemic when he was a little boy, he obeyed the words of Jesus and used his entire inheritance to help the needy, the sick and the suffering. He did this anonymously, without expecting anything in return.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. Because the father had no money for a dowry, it was likely that his daughters would not marry, but be sold into slavery.

On three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

Saint Nicholas dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need and his love for children.”

This is the real story behind who we now know as Santa Claus. I love that my kids will grow up knowing that “Santa” was a real person who loved and cared for the poor and the suffering. We don’t make a big deal out of the commercialized Santa of today. Instead we prefer to remember where the tradition started.

Here’s how we celebrate Saint Nicholas Day. On the evening of December 5, we all hang our stockings on the mantle and the boys put their shoes on the hearth. Then we read the story of Saint Nicholas.

After the boys go to bed, we stuff their stockings and shoes with small toys, candy and other items (like a new toothbrush and chapstick). In the morning when they wake up, we pray to thank God for all of His provision and blessings in our lives. We remind each other that the reason why we give to others is because God gave the most precious gift to us – His son, Jesus.

Then the boys open up their gifts and beg us to eat the candy canes before breakfast! Tom and I enjoy watching them as we drink coffee.

I’d like to think that maybe this is one tradition that our sons would like to start in their own homes with their families someday.

Have you heard about the real Saint Nicholas? If so, do you celebrate Saint Nicholas Day?

Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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