We love our traditions around here, or rather I LOVE them… it’s no secret that while my Mr. is a real, “Keeper”- holiday merriment isn’t exactly his thing. We affectionately refer to him as , “The Grinch” (who he often says he relates to on a deep emotional level). I digress. I really enjoy holiday traditions, and that means EVERY major holiday. If you stick around long enough, you’ll encounter them all. Stick around, it’ll be worth your time.
Christmas is a specifically tradition heavy holiday for us. I didn’t have many traditions growing up, though I do wish I had. My husbands military career means that we move, a LOT. I think the knowledge that we won’t have a “forever home” for probable decades adds to my desire to make traditions. When our kiddo looks back, he may not have a house to call , “Home”- but what he WILL have is a little family and a myriad of traditions that have followed us far and wide. I think these little traditions we are building will be what feels like ,”Home” to us in the years ahead. With that peek into my motivation, I bring you:
St. Nicholas Day
First and foremost, St. Nicholas was a real man. He was a Christian Bishop (Saint c. 280-343). He is venerated for providing for the sick and the poor. His generosity in giving is the basis and inspiration for our modern-day Santa Clause.
Here today I’m going to give you the abridged version of some traditions, celebrations, and lore surrounding good Ol’ St. Nic. I encourage you to google a bit, it really is a very interesting topic.
St. Nicholas day is observed on December 6th for most Western European countries, as well as here in America. December 6th is St. Nicholas’ Feast Day in the Catholic religion as well as the believed anniversary of his death. There are numerous stories surrounding the giving and actions of St. Nicholas. No one really knows which tales are true, but the general belief is that he often gave gifts and/or provided for the needy in secret. At its core- celebrating St. Nicholas Day is also celebrating selflessness, generosity, and the spirit of giving without expecting anything in return…and that’s a celebration I can get behind.
In our House
Our son is only 3, so we keep it little kid level, which feels pretty appropriate, since St. Nicholas is the patron saint of children. Anyhow, at this stage/age we spent time discussing who St. Nicholas was, and why he is important. We talked about what it means to be generous (we hit on that sharing button too, every chance we get. 3 yrs old, amiright?). We also talked about what it means to be, “needy”, and why we should be grateful for what we have. If you’re celebrating in a Germanic country, there is a super fun bit about the infamous Krampus… google it. We leave the Krampus bit out for our little guy, mostly because I value my sleep and don’t want to be up with a frightened little boy. But if your kids are older, Go for it! It might be fun.
The story in our house goes something like this: On the night of December 5th, children leave their shoes outside their bedroom door. St. Nicholas comes along after kids are asleep and if they’ve been a good boy or girl he fills their shoes with treats. However, if they’ve been naughty- They’re welcomed on the morning of the 6th with shoes full of sticks…a real bummer.
When my little guy found his boots this morning we took the chance to talk about “good choices & bad choices”, and discussed how he had made plenty of good choices so St. Nicholas gave him treats- he was VERY happy to not have sticks…although he probably needed AT LEAST a stick or two, ornery boy. We also talked about sharing our goodies, We were lucky, and Jaxon was on board with the sharing. SUCCESS!
What fills “Dem Boots”:
In our house, St. Nicholas always brings a set of Christmas Jammers (or pajamas- if your normal people 😉
We also will always include chocolate coins, and a chocolate Santa. This year brought Jelly Belly jelly beans, and candy canes too.
The possibilities for shoe filler are endless! Keep it simple, or go “ALL OUT”! It’s really up to you. I do Whole heartedly love this simple tradition. What an easy way to teach a big life lesson. Thank you, Saint Nicholas, for living a life worth emulating, and for giving me an easy way to reward my childs goodness & also remind him of things that are truly important. Tell me, What are your favorite traditions during the Holiday season?