Growing up, my family celebrated St. Nick’s feast day on Dec. 6th by leaving out our shoes the night before. In the morning, we’d find a few small treats from the generous bishop, usually some chocolate coins and warm, fuzzy socks. We’d wear our socks to school, and pack our coins in our lunches. We’d swap stories with our classmates about the presents St. Nick brought to our individual houses (it was a Catholic school), and maybe watch a cartoon story about his life when we got home. Though I knew this man was also Santa, I didn’t ever question why he came with presents twice in the same month.
My coworker was not as lucky with her children. Four years ago, her oldest son, who was six or seven at the time (super smart, super logical kid), wanted to know why St. Nick came on Dec 6th, and on Dec 25th. My friend — his mother — is just as sharp, and answered quickly and cleverly.
She reminded her son how generous St. Nick was during his lifetime, and that he loves to share his wealth and joy with everyone. On his feast day, which is his heavenly birthday, he gifts his fellow Catholics with small gifts as he did centuries ago. Then (and this was the part that I thought was very clever), if anyone leaves a letter to Santa in their shoe, he picks it up and takes it home with him. On Christmas, in order to celebrate the birth of St. Nick’s favorite person, St. Nick/Santa returns bringing even more gifts! He does this to remind us of the joy Christ brought into the world, and that celebrating Christ is so much more important than celebrating him.
Suzi’s kids bought it– they didn’t know they could leave their letters to Santa in their shoes! They sat down to write out their Christmas lists right then and there. It is now the family tradition in their house to leave their letters for Santa in their shoes on the night of December 5th.
Great save mom!
Has this ever happened to you? How did you handle it? What are your family traditions for St. Nick’s feast day?