My Mom is Dutch. When her parents immigrated from The Netherlands they didn’t get to bring very much. They brought my aunt and some clothes. 🙂 And, they brought the tradition of celebrating of St. Nicholas. I love it. Grown up I was the only kid I knew that got fun little presents in my stocking on December the 5th. I really like that celebrating St. Nicholas Day provides a little special festivity and simple gift giving early in Advent. This helps preserve the focus of Christmas on Christ. St. Nicholas cared for the needy, loved children and lived his life in devotion to Christ.
His feast day is December 6th, and is widely celebrated in Europe in slightly different ways in each country. In the Netherlands (and at my house) St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of his feast day. Dutch kiddies get small gifts, fruit, and chocolate initial letters (love these) left in their shoes. And even though we are a good Dutch family and take our shoes off by the door, my Mom always put our St. Nicholas presents in our stockings. 🙂 I love this tradition. Even now that I am grown up, my mom still makes sure we all have little presents in our stocking on December 5th. I love that I get to continue this tradition with my kids.
Chocolate letters are hard to find around here. (And I didn’t think about it in time to order some online.) But, in the kids stockings this year, I put these super fun drinking glasses. They thought they were amazing. They even got to drink almond milk with Trader Joe’s Midnight Moo chocolate syrup!!!
There’s lot of information and activities for kids at the St. Nicholas Center. The bird and the bean loved hearing the stories about St. Nicholas giving gifts to the poor and helping others. He was a real man who helped the poor secretly and spent his life showing people how to love God and care for others. The kids thought it was fun to see where we got our Santa Claus stories.
What are your family Christmas traditions?