How to Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
Celebrating St. Nicholas Day on December 6th is not just another fun holiday. Once you learn about the kind man that St. Nicholas was, you’ll be inspired to help others in need, especially during the holiday season.
What is St. Nicholas Day?
St. Nicholas Day is December 6th. But what’s so special about it?
I had my first visit from St. Nicholas back in December 2006, when I was on the island of Tenerife. Ever since that day when I learned about St. Nicholas, December 6th has been a day we have celebrated.
Who was St. Nicholas?
According to the St. Nicholas Center, Nicholas was born to wealthy parents. His parents, who raised him a devout Christian, died from an epidemic when Nicholas was young. Trying to obey the teachings of Jesus to “sell what you own and give to the poor”, Nicholas used his entire inheritance to help the needy and sick. He was made a Bishop and continued to dedicate his life to help those in need and especially loved children.
He died on December 6th, which is the day we celebrate St. Nicholas Day.
There are many legends and stories about St. Nicholas that exemplify the type of person he was:
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
Ideas for Celebrating St. Nicholas Day
Make your St. Nicholas Day celebration as simple as you’d like. We leave our shoes out on December 5th and then we wake up on December 6th to find that St. Nicholas has left some treats or a little gift for us.
Here are a few other ways to celebrate that I found from the web:
- Cookie Plates: Choose a family or person who is need. Leave cookies anonymously on their porch.
- Put a treasure hunt clue inside your advent calendar. On December 6th, children follow the clues to find their gifts from St. Nicholas
- Have a special breakfast feast on the morning of St. Nicholas Day. Set the table with china and candles and serve a variety of special pastries and breakfast foods. Draw a name before breakfast and throughout the day, do anonymous acts of service for that person.
- chocolates, oranges, candy canes, small toys, Christmas book or movie, chocolate coins
- Traditional Ginger Spice Cookies — the food most associated with St. Nicholas
- Some type of clothing to represent St. Nicholas clothing the poor such as Pajamas.
- An ornament representing the child’s interests for the year
I really like the idea of using St. Nicholas Day as a special day to serve someone else.
So put out your shoes on December 5th and see what St. Nicholas leaves for you!