When Clay was serving in the military we picked up a wonderful holiday tradition that we celebrate each year, Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th). It falls in the early days of Advent, so it is an extra bonus for learning during Advent season. We teach our children about how Saint Nicholas gave so faithfully to others in need.
Who Was St. Nicholas
St. Nicholas was born in the third century in the village of Patara. Nicholas spent his inheritance helping the sick and poor that were in need in his village. One of the most talked about moments was how Nicholas helped three poor sisters. They had no dowry, which meant they could not get married and would possibly be sold to slavery. One morning the girls woke up to three bags of gold waiting for them in their home, which allowed the girls to marry. Nicholas had tossed the bags of gold into their window at night, so no one would know it was him. Legend says it landed in the socks that were drying by the fireplace. St. Nicholas has many legends that are still told today, he was a man who was so giving to others in his life. That is why so many celebrate St. Nicholas Day every December.
Why We Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
Although we are not Catholic, we still choose to celebrate this holiday because of how honorable St. Nicholas was. We struggled with lying to our children about Santa and how those presents appeared in our home on Christmas morning. We didn't want this to affect their belief in God later on. So instead we incorporate Saint Nicholas into our holiday season.
The four weeks that lead up to Christ's birth are just as enjoyable and important as the day itself, thanks to Advent. It allows you to reflect on who God is, research through scripture His unconditional love for us and grow in our walk with Him during this time of study. Adding in St. Nicholas on December 6th only makes the season better. I love that I can teach my children about a man who was so generous. Nicholas was a follower of Christ and loved giving to the less fortunate, just like we do.
How We Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day
Since we homeschool, we try to focus our schooling around Saint Nicholas on December 6th. We rotate books each year as well as projects and lessons. We also watch the movie Life of Saint Nicholas. This is a movie I highly recommend watching it if you are interested in learning more about Nicholas.
Each year we look to find a project that will let our family help others in some way. In the past we have volunteered on military posts for different things like baking cookies, packaging treats to send to our military overseas, welcome home ceremonies and much more. We've also volunteered in soup kitchens and food banks. Our children were able to witness firsthand the power of giving back to our community.
Then on the night before December 6th, we leave out Saint Nicholas surprises on the steps for our children to find. These are small gifts and is something special to celebrate the day.
Gifts You Could Leave Out
- A new book
- Candy Items or chocolate gold coins
- Something Saint Nicholas related
- Candy Canes
- Small toy like a matchbox car
St Nicholas Day is a wonderful day for children and adults alike even if you do not do Santa. This day is a day to reflect on the true meaning of CHRISTmas and the gift of giving first to others that we learned from St Nicholas. Do you celebrate St Nicholas Day? Share below your traditions, we would love to hear from you!
Also- I have plenty of St Nicholas Day resources I linked throughout the post. If you click below you can get a FREE St Nicholas Day Coloring page!
Laura is a long time Army Wife whose husband just retired two years ago after 20 years Active Duty in the Army. They reside close to Music City where they raise and homeschool their three boys. Clay and Laura are huge advocates in the homeschool community and also still very active with Veterans as a voice for families who live with Combat PTSD. They have spoke all over the country about their experiences. You can read more about their journey at Laura's regular blog www.awefilledhomemaker.com, her Veteran's Wife website www.awefilledveteranswife.com, and her new venture- www.cookingwhizcafe.com. Laura also can be found teaching classes on how to start a website and run a business. You can follow her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/AweFilledHomemaker/, https://www.facebook.com/AweFilledVeteransWife/,