Happy St. Nicholas Day!

It’s been a tradition in our family to celebrate St. Nicholas Day since our oldest child was born. We didn’t want to go the “no Santa” route, but we also wanted to be careful not to become too focused on Santa and the “commercial” aspect of Christmas. What better way to find a balance than to celebrate the life of St. Nicholas, the real person on whom the legend of Santa Claus is based?! I wrote briefly about this last year.

Celebrating the Christian YearSt. Nicholas was a bishop of Myra in the 3rd century who was known for his acts of kindness and generosity. Over time, many legends developed about him and eventually evolved into the Santa Claus story. The St. Nicholas Center website is an incredible resource for all things related to him and his feast day. You can find everything from historical information to current traditions to activity suggestions and even printables. And as always, my copy of Celebrating the Christian Year by Martha Zimmerman is an invaluable resource with many ideas for family celebrations and activities. I really love this book!

Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas LegendEach year we do some fun activities and crafts, read several stories about St. Nicholas, and watch a couple of DVDs the evening before, or in the days leading up to it. We’ve enjoyed Santa, Are You For Real? by Harold Myra. In it, a modern day family celebrates Christmas and the children ask if Santa is real. The parents respond by telling the true story behind the Santa Claus legend. We also love Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, with it’s beautiful illustrations and simple retelling of the story. Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa, a short animated DVD, has been a staple in our home for years now too…we started out with the VHS tape and finally graduated to the DVD a couple of years ago. And of course, for the last couple of years, it’s been fun to throw in a viewing of the Veggietales’ version of the story, Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving!

Toy Story 3 (Four-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)We actually celebrated a couple of days early this year since my husband had to go out of town this week. Often we end up celebrating a day or two early or late, depending on our schedule. In keeping with the legend, we do stockings now rather than on Christmas Day and generally a family gift, often a couple of DVDs to watch together. Once in awhile, the family gift is a bit bigger. Years ago, we got our first DVD player and several movies on St. Nicholas Day. Since our DVD player died on us about six weeks ago, this year we got a Blu-Ray player and the Toy Story trilogy!

Our family has found celebrating St. Nicholas’ life and legacy to be a wonderful opportunity to focus on generosity and the true spirit of the season, while also extending the festivities out a bit. This celebration, along with our Advent wreath and calendar, Hanukkah celebration, Twelve Days of Christmas/Epiphany celebration, and other Christmas activities, offer a wonderful opportunity to remember our spiritual heritage and learn from the examples of those who’ve gone before us.

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day? What special family traditions do you have? I love hearing how others celebrate!

Linked with Making Your Home Sing and Christmas Fun 2010.

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  1. HI Kara,Great post and it sounds like you do lots of fun things to celebrate St. Nicholas Day! Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog to leave your nice comment :)Happy 2nd week of Advent!Tracy at "A Slice of Smith Life"http://www.asliceofsmithlife.blogspot.com

  2. We have some friends that buy a "house" gift every year. It's usually something big like an air hockey table, or a wii or a bbq. Sometimes it's for the family and sometimes it's for the "house."We usually buy a Christmas dvd and then watch it as a family, that's always fun! Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

  3. Celebrating the Christian Year sounds very intriguing. I'll have to take a closer look. Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Mom Blog Hop. 🙂

  4. We talk about Saint Nicholas every year. I recommend you watch the new VeggieTales movie about Saint Nicholas. Very cute! Stopping by from the Hip Homeschool Hop!

  5. I have been looking for Balance and order for 17 years…. just when I think II almost have found it, it slips away again….(I'm visiting you via the Picket Fence community. I just joined today)

  6. Thanks for adding your link to Christmas Fun 🙂

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