I am so excited to bring you a little round-up of some fun gift options for St. Nicholas’ feast day!
I know that St. Nicholas can be the cause of some controversy in the Catholic world. On a practical level – it can be confusing for our kids to tell them conflicting stories about Saint Nicholas. One as the man who is a Saint and lived and died, and one as the man who comes down the Chimney on Christmas Eve and leaves presents. I remember being really confused as a child, myself, actually. But on the other hand, we are trying to live the liturgical year in our homes, and St. Nicholas (as we know him – as a saint) plays such an important role in the true meaning of Christmas. We’d hate to just gloss over that. What to do, what to do…
Honestly, in our family, the jury is still out. We’re not 100% sure which way we will go on the Santa debate. This is our last year that David will probably not remember, though, so we really need to get our thoughts together and decide what we’re going to do. Santa played such an important part in the “magic” of Christmas that I remember from my childhood, and if I’m being honest, not having Santa be apart of my children’s family culture is something that I would really mourn. But, my husband has expressed to me that had his parents made a big deal out of Santa – that very easily could have been a barrier to his believing in the person of Jesus Christ. And since he is their Father – and my children share his DNA – there is a good chance that at least one of them will inherit his analytical-ness (that’s not actually a word, but you know what I mean) so that’s a very real concern for us.
Here are a few blog posts from Kendra and Haley that I want to reference you to that provide some other perspectives on the whole Santa or no Santa debate:
Now, there are a ton of different ways to “do” St. Nicholas’ feast day. I know some families open their stockings on St. Nicholas’ feast day. Some families use this as an opportunity to get their kids new shoes – they have them set out their old shoes and in the morning the kids wake up to new shoes in place of their old ones. I was reading the book, “The Catholic Catalogue,” the other day, and in it the author was describing how St. Nicholas used to leave her children letters with hints as to where he hide their gifts.
In other words, don’t feel pressure to do this a certain way. You know your kids, you know what they would enjoy and what they wouldn’t. If you don’t think believing in Santa is going to be an issue for them – go for it! If you do think it will be an issue – don’t do it and don’t feel guilty about it. And remember – if something totally crashes and burns this year – don’t give up. Try something new next year. This isn’t about Pintrest perfection. It’s about raising catholic kids entrenched in Catholic culture and helping them to know Jesus and get to heaven someday. That’s it.
What we plan to do
We are keeping it super simple.
We plan on reading the kids a story about St. Nicholas the night before, as their bedtime story. We book we have is called “The Baker’s Dozen.” We will put the kids’ shoes out and in the morning when they wake up there will be some chocolate coins, a candy cane, and an orange.
If you want to get a little more fancy, last year we did some books and a chocolate chip cookie – we even let David eat his for breakfast! 🙂 If that’s not a party….I don’t know how to party.
The year before that we gave David his St. Nicholas Shinning Light Doll. I cannot recommend these dolls enough, super high quality/durable and the bishop’s miter make’s this doll in particular an excellent teething toy. We also have Our Lady of Guadalupe and I’m hoping to add more to their collection as the kids get older!
If you have older, school aged kids – a Tiny Saints backpack charm would also be a fun option. (Note: <- That link is to Amazon, where you can get free shipping. If you are buying more than four, it’s more beneficial to go through their website since the cost per item is lower and you get free shipping on orders over $20).
Another idea is some Saint Peg Dolls. David and Lucy love playing with their Saint peg dolls, and I love that they provide me with a natural way to integrate learning about the lives of the Saints into our day to day play time. My favorite are the Peg Dolls from EmmausRoad on Etsy – but I’ve noticed that she’s closed for the Holiday season. There are also other sellers of Peg Dolls on Etsy that you could check out. Another great option is to buy blank wooden dolls and paint them yourself if you like being crafty! Catholic Icing has a lot of information on painting peg dolls. I’ve gotten all of my peg dolls by participating in swaps with internet mom friends. We each pick a saint and paint a certain number of the same exact doll and then we swap them so we have a complete set. I’ve been super happy with how they have turned out!
There is also always the option of a Chews Life Rosary for your little little ones! My kids actually don’t have one yet, but I am crushing on them hard!
If your kids are older and like to read, I highly highly suggest this book, Father Brown Reader: Stories from Chesterton. I know I’m an adult, but even I couldn’t put this down. It’s a fantastic way to introduce your children to the works of G.K. Chesterton!
If you’re looking to put some books in your child’s shoes, here a few great options about St. Nicholas himself.
Let me know in the comments how you celebrate St. Nicholas’ feast day!
We’re in this together,
pray for me and I’ll pray for you!
Note: No part of this was a sponsored post – but this post does include some affiliate links. Buying through those links will not cost you anything, but it will give me a few pennies to help maintain this blog. Thanks in advance! 🙂