Holy card, Germany, 1932
St Nicholas Center Collection
The real St. Nicholas is so much more than the familiar secular holiday symbol of Santa Claus. Churches are uniquely placed to reclaim "one of their own" through enthusiastic implementation of the customs and traditions which surround St. Nicholas. His stories, as lover of the poor and patron saint of children, complement the central message of the birth of Jesus by leading people to look beyond their own wants and desires. Presenting St. Nicholas as the Christian saint he is, provides a corrective to an over-emphasis on the acquisitive, materialistic aspects of Christmas celebration. Celebrating St. Nicholas Day is appropriate in any church as it brings together young and old in a happy focus on this incredible saint. It is also a superb opportunity to reach out to those who do not attend any church.
Here are ways churches weave St. Nicholas into their Advent practice. Perhaps one or more will be just right for your church—
Ideas from Churches
St Nicholas: of the East and the West
Photo: Saint Nicholas Society/JMR
Articles for Churches
Ideas for parish events, children's sermons, and an adult discussion guide
St. Nicholas Display & Activity Room
An easy, inexpensive way to introduce children & adults to St. Nicholas
How to Celebrate a St Nicholas Festival in the UK
Suggestions from the St Nicholas Society/UK
Video: St. Nicholas Tradition: why is it important?"
Kim Lawton, of PBS' Religion & Ethics Weekly, talks with Canon Jim Rosenthal about bringing St. Nicholas back into churches
Click above image for video from Episcopal News Service Used by permission