Monday, December 4, 2006

St. Nicholas Day

When I was in elementary school, we were moved to Germany by the US Army.  It was a wonderful place to live and we explored the country, as well as Switzerland and Austria, as much as we could. 

One tradition we adopted in our family was St. Nicholas Day, which is December 6.  On December 5, you set a shoe outside your door as you go to bed.  Then, that night St. Nicholas  comes and puts candy, oranges, small gifts in the shoes for the good children.  Naughty children get sticks.  My parents used to give us each one twig and candy.

We continued this tradition after we left Germany, for several years.  Then we kept forgetting which day was actually St. Nicholas Day and it isn't on pre-printed calendars, and we didn't have internet back then to look it up.  So we quit doing it.

A couple years ago, I came across some information on the internet, along with running into other homeschool parents on the internet who still practice this tradition.  So we instituted it for our family.  It also fits in well with my husband's Swedish heritage.

Every year, we do the shoes on Dec. 5th, as we go to bed, and then on Dec. 6 we read about St.  Nicholas and discuss him and the origins of Santa Claus, etc.  (Just as an aside, our family does do stockings, but we have always told our children Santa is pretend and we don't mark gifts as being from Santa.  We also do tooth fairy coins and Easter baskets, but tell children from the beginning that it's just pretend.  Not that it matters that much ...)

Here are two links I intend to explore with my children on Wednesday, St. Nicholas Day.

Saint Nicholas For Kids fun page

Saint Nicholas of Myra facts

Perhaps your family would enjoy exploring the history of Saint Nicholas on December 6, as well.

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