Monday, December 6, 2010

Feast of St. Nicholas

Happy Feast of St. Nick! St. Nicholas is the patron of children and it is from him that we derive our modern day Santa Clause. He was a bishop in the 4th century who is famous for secretly giving money to a poor family so their daughters would have a dowery. The story goes that he threw sacks of gold coins through a window into their stockings as they hung by the fire, hence the tradition of the Christmas stocking!

I know traditionally families put out their shoes to be filled with goodies, but my kids shoes are really small, so we opt for filling up their stockings. Throughout the day the kids secretly put gifts in each others stockings (okay, my 2 year old isn't so secret about it) to continue the celebration of giving. Right now Kevin has some pictures from the kids in his stocking that are waiting to be found when he gets home.

In addition to a few little toys we add some traditional items:

Oranges- These represent the gold St. Nicholas threw into the stockings, which is often depicted as golden balls.

Golden coins- Also a reminder of the money St. Nicholas gave away, but ours are filled with chocolate.

Candy cane- The candy cane is in the shape of a crozier, or a shepherd's staff. It is a symbol associated with St. Nicholas because bishops are like shepherds who tend their flock, or the people of their diocese.

St. Nicholas holy card

Below the stockings we put out a statue of St. Nicholas, a candy cane cookie cutter for our special lunch, a movie on St. Nicholas, which we will watch tonight and a new Treasure Box book, remember those 1960's Catholic "Highlights" written by the Mary Knoll Sisters?

The excitement of the morning looked like this: Bean, elated... Pal, confused.

For lunch we made a special St. Nicholas meal. We used the candy cane cookie cutter to cut shapes into our cheese and sandwiches and we ate the orange from our stocking. Of course we also had chocolate coins for desert!

For more ideas on how to celebrate visit St. Nicholas Center, they cover all kinds of traditions from around the world!


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