St. Nicholas Children's Activity Day
St. Patrick's Anglican Church in the small town of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, invites all community children under twelve for a St. Nicholas activity day. Attendance has nearly tripled over the three years the event has been offered. Some children coming attend the church's Sunday School and other churches, however, many have no connection to a church at all. “We have one new family in our church, whose first contact with us was through a previous St Nicholas Day event,” said the Reverend Steve Page, co-priest-in-charge. “Now this year, they brought all the children on their block!”
This event provides a simple, effective way to engage the wider community, focusing on St. Nicholas and not even requiring an in-person visit from St. Nicholas.
Word of mouth (most important!)
The afternoon begins with a rousing relay race. The children are divided into two teams, and remain with their team as they visit the activity stations and the piñata breaking.
Three activity stations offer a variety of activities, all related to Saint Nicholas.
• STORY STATIONA leader tells several stories about St. Nicholas and his generosity. These are connected to the Christmas story of God's generosity in the gift of Jesus. This connection is important as many children often think Christmas is just about Santa Claus.
• COOKIE DECORATING STATIONCookies shaped like Bishop Nicholas and stars are provided along with frosting and decorative sprinkles and other embellishments. St. Nicholas cookie cutters are available in our here.
• COLORING STATIONSt. Nicholas coloring pictures, illustrating the saint's life and more, word-search, and picture-search activities are all available.
After hearing the story of St. Nicholas helping a poor family by dropping money, possibly into their boots or shoes, the children came together again and found a large boot-shaped piñata. Each child had a chance to swing the pole, trying to break the piñata. It finally broke open when hit by the last child and gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins rained down.
Heeding the spirit of St. Nicholas, many children shared their chocolate coins with others who had not managed to grab as much candy. One boy went to the coat closet and put a single gold-foil chocolate coin into each pair of boots.
The event is free to the community, though a poster and piggy bank at the entrance offer a mission project for contributions from children and parents. Enough was donated to provide a goat for a needy family in Central America.
From the Diocese of Saskatchewan. Used under a Creative Commons license.