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It’s Christmas time! We are all waiting anxiously for December 25th to come, where we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But did you know, there is another Christian holiday tucked within this Advent season? St. Nick’s Day!
St. Nicholas Day is on December 6th, and a time where we celebrate none other than Santa Claus. I know, some of you all my be a bit in shock that we’re talking about celebrating Santa over, but don’t stop reading quite yet. Saint Nick’s Day can be a fantastic tool for pointing littles to Jesus, the true reason for the season.
Why do we celebrate St. Nick’s Day?
St. Nicholas is the patron of the poor and protector of those in need. Nicholas grew up in Asia Minor (Modern-day Turkey). His parents were wealthy Christians, and raised Nicholas to know and love Jesus. Tragically, they both died when he was very young. However, Nicholas clung to his faith even after his parents passing. He believed in Jesus’ teachings so much that he used his whole inheritance to care for the poor. There are countless legends of his kindness towards those in need.
St. Nicholas died on December 6th, 343 AD. And on December 6th we remember the example he set for us to follow Christ. To see the marginalized in our society and to care for them like Jesus would. Santa Claus can’t (nor should he) replace celebrating Jesus, but he serves as an example of how we can usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.
What do you do on St. Nick’s Day?
Now that you know why we celebrate some of you may be asking how to celebrate? What is the St. Nick tradition?
St. Nicks Day is full of fun and traditions. And there so many ways to observe this special day. Here are some of my favorite ways I’ve seen it celebrated:
Legend has it that St. Nicholas would sneakily toss bags of coins into people’s windows. On at least one occasion it landed in the shoes, laid by the fire to dry.
Hence, the traditional way for children to celebrate St. Nick’s day is by setting-out their shoes for ‘St. Nick’ to fill in the night. Shoes are often filled with chocolate gold coins, fruits, candies, and small toys.
Read Books About St. Nick
Take a moment to learn about the true story of St. Nicholas. Pray for guidance on how we can follow his example in our own lives. Some of our favorite books about St. Nick are:
- The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall
- The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali
- The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Anselm Grun
- Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer
- Saint Nicholas and the Mouse of Myra by Jay Stoeckl
- A Special Place for Santa by Jeanne Pieper
- Veggie Tales: St. Nicholas
If you have a little one that loves arts and crafts you have to check out all the craft ideas from The St. Nicholas Center or for something more low-key grab this St. Nicholas activity book.
What is Santa without his elves? Make up a bunch of cookies for a neighbor and deliver to them! You can learn more about Elf deliveries and grab some super cute Elf Delivery Tags from my friend Rachel Schelb at the Love Well on Purpose podcast.
Make a Donation
As a family, think of an organization in your community serving those in need. Either make a monetary or supplies donation, or see if their is a way your family can serve them througout the year. Don’t just wait until Christmas. Look to see if there is a way your family can partner with them for the long-haul.
St. Nick’s Day has gained popularity among Evangelical Christians in recent years, as it can be a fun way to still indulge in the magic of Santa while keeping December 25th centered on Jesus. I have quite a few friends that choose to exchange gifts on St. Nick’s Day to ensure their littles understand the real meaning for Christmas. My friend, Liz, over at Steadfast family shares more about their traditions Celebrating St Nick’s Day.