Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Leaving a Carrot in her shoe this evening for the Feast of Saint Nicholas Tomorrow. I wonder what he will come and leave behind?
This is the first year we have celebrated the feast of St Nicholas in our home, but it totally makes sense to me, and its a tradition I want to uphold as the little one grows.
Who was St Nicholas and why do we celebrate him on December 6th?
St Nicholas the fourth century Bishop of Myra - a small Roman town in Modern Turkey, patron saint of Russia and Greece became the inspiration for the modern day Father Christmas. Many stories of his gallant defending of christian faith, during a time when Christians had to denounce their religion have made him the patron saint of many groups.
Historian Gerry Bowler, author of Santa Claus: A Biography, explained he became known as a patron of children and magical gift bringer because of two great stories from his life.
One story sees St Nicholas entering an inn where the in-keeper had just murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels, St Nicholas sensed the crime and resurrected the boys. The most well known tale is how he saved three young girls from a life of prostitution when he secretly delivered three bags of gold to their father, to be used as their dowries.
Legend has it he threw then through the window and they landed in a show or a stocking, hence the tradition.
How do we celebrate St Nicholas Day?
Our children leave a carrot in their slippers or shoes before bedtime for St Nicholas horses and he leaves little handmade trinket or chocolates in them as a thank you gift. This might seem counter productive to some considering Christmas is only a stones throw away, but I do feel that Christmas is about the birth of Christ, and should rightly remain that way.
Christmas seems to have been overtaken by St Nicholas himself, which judging by his love of his faith i don't think he personally would be too pleased about. So a separate nod to him on his own day, allows Christmas to shine for all the right reasons!
I've had a few people ask about how we approach giving gifts at Christmas. The children receive one gift, usually natural materials and handmade, from St Nicholas in the spirit of the season to share in the birth of Christ, this gift is usually very deeply thought about an really personal to the child. Mummy and Daddy purchase other gifts to celebrate, but sometimes St Nicholas brings them if they are too big to store at home. This is a way we celebrate Christmas and are also able to be realistic with our Children about our own circumstances - we cant always afford gifts they request, and about others circumstances, my children have often asked why that child go more than them for Christmas? Or why that child only got one gift.
I am really looking forward to making St Nicholas Day part of our family traditions!
Happy St Nicholas Day!