Happy St. Nicholas Day!
We have been learning about Christmas Around the World this week in our homeschool, and we learned that in quite a few countries, children set out their shoes on the night of December 5th, which is known as St. Nicholas Eve, in the hopes of receiving some goodies the next morning. We also read several versions of the story of the real St. Nicholas and learned how he is said to have given gifts to the poor including the famed bags of coins he threw into the window of three girls who needed dowries to keep them off the streets. These bags are said to have landed in the girls’ shoes where they found them in the morning; hence, the putting out of shoes on St. Nicholas Eve throughout many countries in Europe.
Of course, my kids were excited about this and asked if they could put their shoes out. My husband and I talked about it and decided to let them do it. They have been planning out what they want to buy for each other and for other members of our family for Christmas and have been frustrated at their lack of funds this year. Daddynificent and I decided this was a perfect opportunity for us to give them some money to spend on others, which seemed very fitting of the man St. Nicholas was.
They were hoping for some treats and a few coins, so you can imagine their surprise and elation when they came down this morning and found the Malaysian equivalent of about $25 US plus a few treats in their shoes. It was so fun to hear them talk about how they could be like St. Nicholas and give generously. I thought this was a great way to turn our giving them some money to spend on each other (which we would have done anyway) into a fun tradition as well as a learning experience tying their lives to the lives of believers in the past!
A Few Resources About St. Nicholas
If you are interested in learning more about the real St. Nicholas, here are some of our favorite resources about him. These are Amazon affiliate links.
The Story of St. Nicholas: More Than Reindeer and a Red Suit by Cheryl Odden – This one is published by Voice of the Martyrs and highlights how Nicholas suffered for his faith but remained faithful. My kids were very moved by this telling.
The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall – We love pretty much anything by Dandi Daley Mackall.
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer
- We also love the Veggie Tales telling of the story of St. Nicholas: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving. We have the DVD but you can also rent or buy it through Amazon Instant Video.
Have you ever celebrated St. Nicholas Eve or Day? We’d love to hear about it or if you might try it sometime in the future!