Annual St. Nicholas Party
Calvary Episcopal Church, Burnt Hills, New York
When: Saturday or Sunday closest to December 6, at 5 or 6 p.m.
Who: Youth plan party for younger kids
What: Light supper, games & crafts, St. Nicholas story
The youth set up the room, choose the games and crafts, help the kids that night, and, most importantly, fill shoes with candy. The St. Nick party is the first thing decorated each year. The teens put up lights, a tree, and a fake fireplace.
Families bring sandwiches and we provide soup, drinks, desserts, etc. We eat together, then have St. Nicholas crafts and games.
We've frosted Bishop Nicholas cookies, colored Nicholas coloring pages, and played "Pin the Nose on Rudolph." One year we made Nicholas mobiles, with the hat, eyes, nose, and mouth separate hanging pieces; one side was Santa Claus and the other was Bishop Nicholas (red Santa hat and white bushy beard on one side, bishop's mitre and smaller grey beard on the other).
Then we go to another room, either the church or lounge, for the story of Bishop Nicholas. The rector dresses in red pants and big boots, with a bishop's cloak and pectoral cross, and a Santa Claus hat with the fur tucked in and the long part tucked down so it makes a small triangular point, like a bishops mitre.
As he talks about Bishop Nicholas, the things Nicholas did, how much people loved him, and how stories grew about him, the rector gradually takes off the cloak and replaces it with a coat. The final transformation comes when he pulls the Santa hat out of the mitre, and he is fully transformed into Santa Claus. He then hands out little bags of chocolate "gold" coins.
Before the kids go to hear the story, they put out an extra shoe that they brought in front of the "fireplace". While the little kids listen to the story, our youth group fills the shoes with candy. Then they clean up the crafts and games, and turn out all the lights except the Christmas lights and tree.
After the story the kids come back to the Christmas lighted room to find their shoes filled with candy. Joyful chaos ensues. Usually someone reads "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or another St. Nicholas storybook, in front of the "fireplace." Then families gather up the crafts and candy and go home. The party lasts about two hours.
From Holly Schubert, Calvary Episcopal Church, Burnt Hills, New York. Used by permission.