St. Nicholas Costume
Suggestions & Patterns
So you are going to have or be a St. Nicholas—where or how to find a costume? Costumes can be bought, made, or borrowed. Professional costume companies are one option for complete outfits, or just specialized parts like the cope and miter. For church use, basic pieces may be borrowed from a church's basic vestment supply, such as an alb and stole. However, it is important that St. Nicholas be clearly different than a real bishop. So it isn't particularly recommended to use real bishop's vestments. A bit of fantasy is good for St. Nicholas!
Whatever the costume, do make sure it is carefully pressed so St. Nicholas looks his best.
Whether you make or purchase a costume, these are the parts you'll need:
- Basic garment (alb, long tunic, or cassock), may be trimmed with wide lace if not using a surplice
- Surplice (loose shorter garment worn over cassock), optional, usually trimmed with wide lace
- Stole (long, narrow scarf)
- Cape, cloak, or cope, may have optional capelet
- Crozier (staff)
- Gloves, ring, pectoral cross, optional
Cloak or cape
Complete instructions with cutting layouts
More information and PDF files
Tops to make a crozier easily are available in our shop.
Another way to make a costume is to adapt commercial costume patterns to create the basic parts of a St. Nicholas costume. There are usually patterns for capes, with or without a capelet. A basic gown or tunic may be adapted from patterns for nativity figures. Vestment patterns may also be found in vestment pattern books.
Instructions for adapting commercial patterns
Costume shops sometimes have costumes, or, maybe, bishop's costumes that may be modified to make a St. Nicholas.
Vestments from Europe
Church supply house Schreibmayr, Munich, Germany, has a special section with vestments for St. Nicholas. These quality, reasonably pieces include copes, miters, albs, chasubles, crozier tops, beards, wigs, gloves, and appropriate ring binders. The site accepts PayPal payments. There are good reviews for these Nicholas items. Nicholas garments and bishop equipment
Church supply house, Ackerman, offers liturgical vestments for "Santa Claus"—our St. Nicholas. Cope, miter, alb, cincture, stole, and crozier, may be ordered as a set or individually. They have several styles; search for "Santa Claus" to find them. People have reported good experiences with Ackerman, who ships anywhere.
For a professional look a number of St. Nicholases have found quality, affordable St. Nicholas vestments from Poland on eBay. One such seller I've heard good reports about is Ackermann Liturgical Vestments. Copes, miters, stoles (often come with the cope), chasubles and albs are all available. You'll probably want to look at red copes and miters.
If you have good experiences with other sources, please tell us and we'll list them.
Make your own!