My husband and his family celebrated St Nicholas Day growing up.In fact, my mother-in-law reminded me every year when we were first married when St Nicholas Day was. I never remembered since I didn’t grow up with it. Now that I have 2 kids, I like incorporating good traditions into our family, especially since Daddy grew up with it too. Since my son, who is in kindergarten is suppose to bring in an extra pair of shoes tomorrow for a surprise from St. Nicholas, I thought I BETTER keep the tradition alive at home too!
When is St Nicholas Day?
St. Nicholas Day is Dec 6 of every year. This includes 2011, 2012, and 2013 of course!
What is St Nicholas Day?
It’s another day to celebrate in December! Traditionally, kids left their shoes outside their bedroom doors on St. Nicholas Day Eve, mostly in Europe. St Nicholas Day is celebrated in the USA in cities with strong German influences such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Louisville, and St. Louis celebration.
When kids wake up in the morning, they receive candy, cookies, apples, and nuts. Today, kids might find small toys, trinkets, books, or even new winter PJs. As a child, my husband received tangerines, trinkets, candy and nuts, not in his shoes but in a Christmas stocking. The Christmas stocking was on the mantel.
Who is St Nicholas Day and why is he bringing my kids candy?
St Nicholas was Bishop of Myra and remains the Patron Saint of sailors, fishermen, the falsely accused, pawnbrokers, thieves and a number of cities. To kids, he is the magical person that leaves presents for them either on St Nicholas Day or Christmas. St Nicholas lived 270–6 December 346. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving and miracles. St Nicholas is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and Sinterklaas.
He is well-known for his good deeds. He would throw bags of gold coins through windows at night for daughters whom fathers could not afford a dowry. Back then, without a dowry, these girls would not be able to marry and may be forced into prostitution. St Nicholas is also known as a Defender of Orthodoxy as Christians were under persecution of the church, he worked to defend many.
So, in honor of the good deeds and works of St Nicholas, he continues to leave candy, treats, and small gifts to kids world-wide on St. Nicholas Day.
Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day?
So, this Sunday night is St Nicholas Day Eve. I don’t think I’ll carry the shoes tradition out but I will be surprising my kids with some fun surprises in their stockings. We have had way too much candy since Halloween. I think I’ll carry on some of my husband’s family traditions of nuts (my son loves peanuts with shells!), special fruit, and a trinket. Maybe PJs too.
11 thoughts on “Do you celebrate St Nicholas Day? What is St Nicholas Day? 2011”
That’s very smart, Sue. Really smart about Santa knowing which parents didn’t believe too. I’ll use that one for sure! 🙂
Cindy, when my kids started asking questions I just told them that I didn’t have any answers. I said that I didn’t know how Santa got in (no fireplace), didn’t know how he knew what presents, didn’t know why some kids parents told them that they were actually Santa. They accepted that I didn’t know. I said that maybe Santa knew which parents didn’t believe and acted as Santa so he didn’t have to go to thier houses.
Robin, so glad you thought of the coins. I will do that as well. I’m just worried a little about telling about how St Nicholas helped others and such way back then because my 5 year old is going to ask how he is still alive! He’s asking WAY too many questions this year. I’m afraid I’m going to mess it up.
Chrysa, did one of your uncles dress up as St Nick or did your family just gather together to see what he left you kids? Black Pete sounds scary, I wouldn’t keep that tradition alive either! lol
Diane, What a great idea with elf letters. I am going to have my kids put their Christmas wish list letters in their stockings tomorrow night instead of mailing them. Then, St Nicholas can just pick them up when he drops off his goodies.
We celebrate St. Nicholas’ feast day was well. I used to get them a pair of new shoes or slippers, this year they found the new slippers. So…that won’t be a surprise. I always fill with those gold chocolate coins from the dollar store. Hoping they get a visual of the tale, ah with kids who knows. I’ll find out in 20 years.:) I also get a small trinket or onament. I’d like the ornament to commerate something about our year, but I thought of that too late this year. I’ll get them an ornament on vacation next year.
Someone on another blog said her grandmother kept the tradition in her family. And, she always got two things. Candy and a small toy or trinket one she kept and one to give away. I like this and will incorporate it if not this year than next year 🙂
Thanks for this post. I was just searching around for some info on St. Nick’s Day/Eve to see if anyone celebrates it any more! When I was a kid, we would gather at either my grandparents’ house or at one of the aunts/uncles and St. Nick would come to visit us. He would always give each of us a little brown bag with some candy and nuts in it and maybe an orange. Back in my mom’s day (late 40s/early 50s) St. Nick also brought along his helper “Black Pete” to scare the naughty kids. I think it’s a good idea that tradition was phased out!
In a lot of ways St. Nick’s day was even more fun than Christmas because it was so unique and most of my friends at school didn’t even know about it!
Each year I do remember St. Nicholas day, tho we don’t actually do anything to celebrate it. However, I absolutely love to hear about customs and traditions that families share and continue to share, and for me, that is a wonderful part of what Christmas is all about.
We actually are “in” one of our favorite traditions right now! When my girls were quite young I once told them that the first Friday of December was “Elf Night” and that was the night that they had to write their letter to Santa so he’d be sure to know what they wanted. We’d get out their stockings and they would stick their letters in them and then an elf would come in the middle of the night and take their letter to give to Santa, and he’d leave them a candy cane and a small treat.
To this day—tho they are in their 20’s, my girls STILL bring me their “elf letters” on the first Friday in December….and my oldest daughter has started this tradition with her 3-year old. It’s always just been a fun little way of opening up the holiday season, plus it gives me an extra little insight on things I might have forgotten that they wanted!
Another ‘tradition’ we have is playing the Rolling Stones song–“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”!! Years ago I told my girls that that was a Christmas song—and mommy wouldn’t lie…so they believed me!! And any time they would start whining about wanting something I’d say “what does Mick Jagger say” and they would answer “you can’t always get what you want.” We still have a great laugh over that.
Oh..and one more that I remember doing when I was a young girl—many years ago! My dad’s family was from the Old Country, and my grandmother told my sisters and me that on December 4th all single girls were supposed to cut a branch from a tree and bring it inside and place it in water, and if it bloomed by Christmas Eve she would marry that following year. We used to laugh over that one–but many times my sisters and I, as well as our female cousins, would do this…..and with God as my witness~~~my twig bloomed the Christmas before I got married!!
Thanks for stirring up some memories for me, and I wish you and your family a beautiful holiday season, and I’m certain that your husband will love that you are honoring his family heritage by acknowledging his traditions!! God Bless you all!!
Whenever I have to do a little research on my own for things, I just turn them into an article because I figure other people are searching too. lol :)Thanks, Kim!
Thank you for sharing Cindy! Great info.
Thank you for spreading the word!