by Ann Marie Gidus-Mecera
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 ways to celebrate St. Nicholas Day at church:
• Attend Church services on the feast day of St. Nicholas. If your Church does not have a regular program planned for this feast day, you may want to talk with your parish priest or religious education director. In our parish, we gather for a Vesperal Liturgy and have practically the same attendance as for a Sunday Liturgy. Afterwards the children decorate a Christmas tree using decorations they've made. Each child receives a stocking or goody bag, the parents bring St. Nicholas Cakes (recipe) to share, and everyone gathers to sing special carols. The spirituality and warmth is indescribable.
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.