Hear who is at the window, knocking, children? (Dutch song)
Babette Harms, 1997
St. Nicholas Center Collection
Here are many activity ideas to help celebrate St. Nicholas—for both children and adults. It can be interesting and fun to recover his generous spirit and extend it to others.
In the spirit of St. Nicholas, give an anonymous gift to someone who really needs it. It might be a parent, child, sibling, cousin, niece, or nephew—or someone who is not related to you at all. The gift could be tickets to a movie, a book, an article of clothing, a tool or appliance you know the person needs, or some silly item that will make the person smile and brighten up his or her day. Enclose a card that simply tells the person to enjoy the gift; sign it "A Friend." The gift will bring an element of mystery and miracle into someone's life.
The Way of the Saints: Prayers, Practices, and Meditations by by Tom Cowan. Used by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc. Purchase this fine anthology from amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.uk
Musical Money Bag As part of a St. Nicholas Festival evening, prepare a "money bag" for each table group. Fill each bag with chocolate gold coins or other candy. While music plays, the bag is passed around the table. Whoever has it when the music stops is the winner. The "winners" then stand up and re-enacts the spirit of Saint Nicholas by sharing the goodies with the whole table.
Adapted from St. Scholastica Parish, Woodridge, Illinois
Pass-the-Parcel for younger children
Before the class prepare a pass-the-parcel. The parcel should contain a stocking full of sweets. After the discussion on gift-giving play pass-the-parcel with the younger children. Ask the winner what St Nicholas would have done with the present. Would he have kept it for himself or shared it with the other children? It is hoped that the winner will get the message and share the sweets.
From Festive Allsorts: Ideas for Celebrating the Christian Year, Nicola Currie, National Society/Church House Publishing, London, Copyright 1994 © Nicola Currie, p. 6. Used by permission.
St. Nicholas Day Promise Card
Make a card that helps children learn that justice, charity, and love for God are qualities exemplified by Saint Nicholas. Children are encouraged to think about how they can live out these important characteristics. Click for pattern.
From The Saints: 21 Models for Good Living by Francine O'Connor, copyright © 2000 Pflaum Publishing Group, Used by permission.
This collection has an activity and information for twenty-one saints, with one or two for each month. Purchase from amazon.com
St. Nicholas Tea
Host a St. Nicholas Tea. Invite guests to bring an unwrapped gift for someone less fortunate, and you provide the wrappings. Contact a local shelter, nursing home, or hospital to ask what kinds of donations are most needed. Serve traditional St. Nicholas Day treats.
and make the season bright
by bringing an unwrapped gift
for someone very young or very old.
Saturday, December 6, 2–4 pm
Adapted from Tea with Friends, Elizabeth Knight, Storey Books, 1998
Advent Custom Of The Shoes
This is an ancient Advent custom, widespread in Europe, Canada, and South America. When the children go to bed on the eve of St. Nicholas' Day (December 5), they put upon the window sills little notes which they have written or dictated, addressed to the Child Jesus. These letters, containing lists of desired Christmas presents, are supposed to be taken to heaven by Saint Nicholas or by angels. In South America the children write their letters to the "little Jesus" during the days from December 16 to 24 and put them in front of the [Christmas] crib, whence, they believe, angels take them to Heaven during the night.
"Children's Letters" from Francis Weiser's Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, p. 55,56. Copyright © 1952 Harcourt, Brace & World. Used by permission.
Ideas for Giving Projects
• Learning about Saint Nicholas can be a starting point for a special giving project: perhaps making a gift for someone at home, or little gifts to exchange with one another.
• If there are opportunities for giving to children in need, you could make a giant stocking into which anyone able to contribute could add their gift.
• It could inspire a giving project on a grander scale: perhaps staging a concert for family members, and taking a collection of money to give to an organization that works with the poor.
Share the Spirit of St. Nicholas
Joel's story, Another Christmas Carol, tells how the spirit of St. Nicholas touched a young boy's life. The boy is now grown up and extends that grace to others. Read about one way to get the spirit of St. Nicholas with helpful tips for showing care and consideration to those in need.
• Icon Ornaments: Buy paper icon cards of the Virgin and Child, Nativity, and St. Nicholas; buy the three package of small frames from the DollarStore; buy ribbon/glue. Assemble the icon cards in the picture frames and attach the ribbon to hang on the tree. Cost .50c per ornament.
• Icon Decoration: Buy a nice large paper icon of the Nativity or St. Nicholas and frame using a nice frame from the DollarStore. They make great decorations for Christmas and all year long, great gifts too! I found a gold frame with angels and trumpets on it. Cost $2
From Antiochian Women CanAm Region
St. Nicholas Garden
Tell stories of Saint Nicholas and then plant a wheat candle garden in memory of St Nicholas and his philanthropy to the poor. Place a white votive candle in the cneter of the "garden." If the garden is planted in the middle of November (the begiinning of Nativity Lent, 15 November), it will show green sprouts by the feast of St. Nicholas (if planted in early Advent, sprouts should be showing by Christmas). On the Eve of the Nativity (Christmas Eve) light the white votive candle to symbolize Christ the Light coming into the world.
St. Nicholas Crafts
St. Nicholas Recipes
St. Nicholas Kits for St. Nicholas Day
St. Nicholas Magic Dust
St. Nicholas Games
Activity Sheet: Who Is St. Nicholoas?
Count Down to St. Nicholas Day
More activities to print
PDF files for word searches, crossword puzzle, matching and word games
Things to talk about while making St. Nicholas Projects
Letter from St. Nicholas