Neighborhood St. Nicholas "Visits"

A Variation

by Lisandrea Wentland, who adapted Pat Mochel's idea for Neighborhood Baskets

On the evening of Dec. 5, my mother, children and I stuffed little gift bags with nuts, a clementine, chocolate coins and candy canes for each child in neighboring households. We tied each bag neatly with a ribbon, attached a poem I wrote, and then hung the bags on each family's doorknob to be discovered the next morning. My children were downright giddy about the clandestine game we were playing while other children were getting into jammies and brushing teeth for bedtime. They loved keeping the secret that only four of us knew.

Mon and kids making preparations
Preparing bags
Gram and kids filling bags

And, here is the poem to accompany our secret gifts on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day. We also include this St. Nicholas story.

This December 6th you have been blessed
In the spirit of good St. Nicholas
Who noticed how many had so much less
And gave to them from his generousness.

When poverty chilled children's feet
And they barely had enough to eat
Nuts and oranges, oh-so-sweet
Were left in their shoes as a special treat.

Year after year, under cover of night
These candy canes of red and white
Are tucked in, too, oh-so-tight
Like his Bishop's crozier, held upright.

During this Advent week, as lights go up,
As families shop and shop and shop
Remember those with an empty cup
Like jolly St. Nick—fill it up, fill it up!

Though Santa-attention is on himself,
His reindeer, his sleigh, and his little elves
Nick served others from his wealth
And like Christ, whom he followed, he did it in stealth.

So, we do too!

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas and Merry Christmas!

Mon and kids with basket
Making deliveries
Child at door
Visiting each house
Photos: Lisandrea Wentland
Used by permission

From Lisandrea Wentland, Reston, Virginia. Used by permission.

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