by Ann Marie Gidus-Mecera
Holy Card, Russia
St Nicholas Center Collection
The feast day of St. Nicholas is celebrated on December 6. It is a wonderful opportunity to de-emphasize Santa Claus and bring alive St. Nicholas. Tell your child the wonderful story of this fourth century bishop of Myra (modern day Turkey) who possessed much love and generosity. Point out this is one reason we give gifts on Christmas day. It is why Russia chose this selfless bishop to be her patron saint.
Here are some other ways to celebrate St. Nicholas Day at home:
• As a family, you may want to exchange gifts on St. Nicholas Day instead of Christmas. You may decide to give only your child his/her gifts on this day, in keeping with the tradition. Or you might want to give your child just one gift on this day.
• Get an icon of St. Nicholas and display it during this time. Place it on a stand or hang it where your child can easily see it and pick it up if s/he wants to. Its the best way they can get to know this humble and holy saint.
From A Way of Life: Introducing Your Child to the Orthodox Faith, A Religious Education Pre-School Program for Parents by Ann Marie Gidus-Mecera, Orthodox Christian Publications Center, OCA, 1991, p. 94. Used by permission. Click to purchase.