When we were kids, my siblings and I would look forward to the night before December 6th every year. We would excitedly place our shoes by the front door before bedtime in anticipation of St. Nicholas’s arrival. The next morning we would hurry down the steps to see what treats he had left us. Almost always, we would find chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil.
We attended Catholic school and celebrated St. Nicholas’s feast day there as well. This was one of the most exciting days of the school year for us kids! In the afternoon, we would each remove one shoe and line them up in the hallway. When we heard bells jingling over the speakers, we knew St. Nicholas (or a few 8th graders) was roaming the halls filling our shoes with treats. The combination of walking around with one shoe, knowing we were in the presence of St. Nick, and lots of sugar, left us bouncing off the walls by the time dismissal came around!
My husband had never heard of this tradition and I was so excited to introduce him to it! You can imagine how confused he was the first time he put his work boots on and found Hershey Kisses stuffed inside! Celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas brings back so many happy memories for me and it’s a tradition I plan on passing down to my daughter.
Traditionally, St. Nicholas, the “bearer of gifts”, was known for being kind to those in need. He visits children who have be good all year on December 6th and rewards them with small treats. I’m here to tell you how you can easily adopt this fun tradition for your own family!
- Read books about St. Nicholas. This one is great. He is very popular in Eastern European countries and his legend and story varies from country to country.
- Do a fun St. Nicholas craft. There are some great ideas on Pinterest – paper shoes, coloring pages, and more.
- Before bedtime on December 5th, have your children line up their shoes in a designated area. This can be by the front door, in the hallway, or wherever you see fit.
- Fill your children’s shoes with items such as candy canes, gold coins, or a small toy.
- Enjoy seeing their happy faces the following morning when they find their filled shoes with treats!
For me, St. Nicholas Day was never about the gifts but rather the excitement and anticipation we felt. It also signified that Christmas was just a few weeks away!