Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feast of St. Nicholas

The feast of Saint Nicholas is December 6th and celebrating this feast day can teach children that Santa Claus is actually a secularized version of Saint Nicholas, a fourth century Bishop of Myra or modern day Turkey. Traditionally on this feast day in Northern Europe, children left their shoes in front of the fireplace and treats were left in them by the morning. This is a beautiful tradition to continue with your family, and here are some additional ideas for celebrating this feast day.
Prayer
God of joy and cheer, we thank you for your servant,
the good bishop Nicholas.
In loving the poor, he showed us your kindness;
in caring for your children, he revealed your love.
Make us thoughtful without need of reward
so that we, too, may be good followers of Jesus.
Amen.

Another prayer to St. Nicholas can be found here.

Books
Saint Nicholas by Ann Tompert
Crafts & Activities
Give your children new slippers to leave out
Fill your children's shoes or new slippers with a bag of gold foil covered chocolate coins, as coins are one of the many symbols of St. Nicholas. For something really creative, visit Jessica to see her cute craft idea for chocolate coins.
Give each child a religious Christmas book along with their candy.
Somewhere I read this idea, but can't remember where in order to give credit of giving the children a note from St. Nicholas (which could be on the back of a holy card) listing the good deeds they have done, as well as anything they need to work on before Christmas.
Color St. Nicholas coloring pages
Do a St. Nicholas craft, here is a link to a few
Food & Treats
(in addition to the gold foil covered chocolate coins)
It is customary (although I don't think we will be doing it this year) to serve Speculaas (Dutch spice cookie) or Speculatius (German Spice Cookie),depending on your heritage, cut into shapes relevant to the life of St. Nicholas (coins, mitres, ships, balls, money bags, or St. Nicholas himself), and painted with colorful icing.
Visit catholic Cuisine for other food ideas for the Feast of St. Nicholas, including a Candy Cane Coffee Cake

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