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St Nicholas Day Traditions

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Celebrating St Nicholas Day was one of my family’s favorite holiday traditions when I was growing up. The feast of Saint Nicholas is celebrated on December 6. I’m sharing a few of my favorite St. Nicholas Day Traditions.

leaving the slippers out for st Nicholas day celebration

Celebrating St. Nicholas Day Traditions

When I was growing up, my family celebrated the feast day of St Nicholas each year. Our tradition was to leave our shoes or slippers out by the door and St. Nicholas would stop by to leave random treats.

Now that I am raising my own family, I like to keep this tradition alive by introducing it every year to my little ones.

children celebrating St Nicholas day

It is celebrated during the early weeks of Advent on December 6. I think it is a nice way to share the story of the generosity of St Nicholas to my children and to introduce him as the real Santa Claus.

For my family, it is important to keep traditions alive, but also to keep things simple and focused on the true meanings of the seasons.

Related: Simple & Intentional Living During the Holiday Season

pair of brown boots filled with chocolate candies and candy canes to celebrate St. Nicholas Day

History of St Nicholas Day

Before I go further with how we celebrate St Nicholas Day and share ideas for you to introduce this saint into your Catholic home, I want to share a brief history.

St Nicholas was a Catholic bishop from Turkey (280-343). His parents were very devout and taught him to practice his Catholic faith. They died when he was young and he was known for giving his inheritance away to the poor and sick.

St Nicholas became a bishop at a young age and he suffered for his faith under the Emperor Diocletian.

painting of St Nicholas with angels

He is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries throughout Europe.

Over the years Christmas became more and more commercialized. In the US, St. Nicholas morphed into Santa Claus and the saint known for his charity became a fat and jolly old man in red velvet attire.

In trying to keep history and traditions intentional, it is my hope to avoid them losing interest on the true meaning of Christmas. And the Advent season beforehand.

How St Nicholas Day is celebrated around the world.

man dressed up in a bishops costume for a parade to celebrate St Nicholas day

How We Celebrate St Nicholas in Our Home

The night before the feast of St. Nicholas, my children will leave out their shoes or slippers to be filled with little treats left behind by the Saint.

Here are some treat ideas for little ones:

Imported St Nicholas Chocolates

Holy Card of St. Nicholas

St Nicholas Story Book for Children

Chocolate Gold Coins

Candy Canes

Candy canes are a great symbol of the bishop’s crosier.

children’s slippers filled with small chocolate candies for st Nicholas day

Other Ideas to Celebrate this Feast Day

The feast day and celebration doesn’t have to end with children receiving treats. I like to put on a DVD of St Nicholas for my children and introduce a few different learning activities into our homeschool lessons for the day.

Here’s a few of great activities for celebrating the day:

Watch St Nicholas the Boy Who Became Santa DVD

Color a Picture of St. Nicholas

Make a St. Nicholas Ornament

St Nicholas Day Crafts & Printables

Here’s a great resource with a ton of ideas for celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas.

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