St. Nicholas Day is December 6th. I have the wooden shoes, chocolate coins and oranges ready. On St. Nicholas Eve I read The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving. It’s a heart warming story and it always gets my family into the true spirit of Christmas.
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We also watch VeggieTales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving while eating Speculaas cookies and drinking hot chocolate. Jenn is going to share with us how she plans to celebrate this year.
I am so very excited to celebrate this year because it will be our first year celebrating this festival as a family. St Nicholas Day is celebrated all around Europe in many different ways. I love the history behind this festival and the story of St. Nicholas is truly inspiring.
I’ve been reading the St. Nicholas Stories from the book, Stories of the Saints: A Collection for Children. This has the traditional St. Nicholas Story in it, but also a few others you may not be acquainted with.
St. Nicholas of Myrna was born to a wealthy family in Patara, Lycia around 241 A.D. His parents died when he was only 9 years old and he was taken in by the church. He gave much of his family’s fortune away to the church and the poor. The most well-known story about St. Nicholas is about a poor man with 3 daughters. The three daughters wanted to marry but the father did not have money for a dowry. St. Nicholas anonymously gifted the family some money while they slept and so all of the daughters were wed. St. Nicholas performed many good deeds throughout his time as a Bishop and when he died he was canonized as a saint by the Catholic church.
So what does this all mean for the festival? In our family we talk about how good it is to be generous to others like St. Nicholas. My children are still pretty young, but we want to perform acts of charity as often as we can. We decided that in addition to the usual gifts and treats that are left in our shoes on St. Nicholas day we would also include a five dollar bill for each of our children. We are going to take them to a toy store and let them each pick a small toy for a child to put into the Toys for Tots box. This will be our way of playing St. Nicholas to someone else and anonymously give a gift to someone in need. We are making cookies to give away to our neighbors as well as another small act of kindness.
We also made Cinnamon Dough ornaments to give away to friends and neighbors with our cookies. Here’s how we did it:
You need 2 cups of baking soda, 1 cup of corn starch, 1 and ½ cups cold water, and whatever spices you like. I used cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and a splash of vanilla for good measure.
Mix everything in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture resembles a dough that starts to stick together. Take it out and let it cool for a bit.
Once your dough ball has cooled you can knead it.
When your dough ball is nice and uniform you can divide it up and hand it over to your kids to play with. They can roll it out
and cut it with different holiday cookies cutters.
Then take a straw and make a small hole in the top of your ornament. This is where you will thread a ribbon through for hanging.
Pop them in a preheated 175 degree oven for about 45 minutes. It may take more or less time depending on your oven. Ours took longer because we made them pretty thick.
If you prefer to let them air dry it will take 24 hours for them to harden up. The thicker you make them the longer it will take for them to harden. Now you have a nice little ornament that smells amazing and is perfect for gifting to your loved ones. We will be attaching these to our plates of cookies and giving them to our neighbors on St. Nicholas Day!
In my Happy Hedgehog Post box this month I received a great little booklet about St. Nicholas Day! This book has been my go-to for the last few weeks while preparing our celebration. It’s filled with great recipe ideas for our celebration that we will definitely be using this year. My kids are the most excited for Romige Kaasoep (a creamy cheese soup) and Kerstkrans (puff pastry filled with marzipan and shaped into our initials). If you missed out on this booklet, you can find recipes here.
I hope I have given you some ideas for your St. Nicholas celebration this year. Please visit our Facebook Business Page or private group and share photos of your celebration with us! We love seeing how your family uses our projects and ideas to enrich your festivals.
Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Samantha & Jenn
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