Maggie is so excited for everything about the Christmas season this year. It’s the first year that she really gets what’s going on & she wakes up every morning, runs downstairs & asks for her “advent treat bag”. Even though many of them have chocolate in them, I figure “oh what the heck” a little chocolate at 7am won’t hurt one month of the year. The fact that she says “Merry Christmas” to me multiple times a day, even though we have 19 more days to go, warms my heart.
My Mom was wonderful about having Christmas traditions for my brothers & I. One thing that is important to me, as my little family grows, is to start traditions of our own. Growing up, I went to Catholic school, so we celebrated quite a few Saint’s days. For many reasons, the Feast of St. Nicholas was the best. The school was decorated for Christmas & we had just a couple weeks before Christmas & winter break. December 6th, St. Nicholas’s feast day, was day full of celebrating.
What I remember most, is that our music teacher & her husband would bake special ginger cookies for the celebration. They were very elderly, but they would start baking & freezing cookies months in advance. Every student got a bag of cookies & then we (the students) would help deliver cookies to all of the retired nuns & priests, all of the nursing homes & some hospitals in our area.
One lucky student was chosen to dress as St. Nicholas as we made the deliveries! It still makes me smile to think of how proud we were to deliver all of those cookies & how kind that couple was to bake thousands of cookies.
There are many stories about the man St. Nicholas was & the miracles he performed. We always learned, the most important thing about St. Nicholas, was that he was always giving. He was a wealthy man & left things for those in need, without wanting any publicity or rewards. He often left bread for families in need, on their door steps, while they were asleep. This is how the tradition started of children leaving out their shoes on the night of December 5th, in hopes that St. Nicholas would stop by & fill their shoes with treats. This is then, how we came to having the Santa Claus we all know & love.
I decided celebrating the Feast of Saint Nicholas would be a tradition in my house as my children grow. It’s an extra night of “magic” & a wonderful way to share a story about giving.
Maggie was so excited to pick out which shoes she would put outside & made sure to grab some for Alex too. This morning, she ran downstairs to look at the window of our front door to see if St. Nicholas stopped by our house. After emptying their shoes, the girls celebrated with some Santa pancakes & Christmas stories.
At our house, we leave our shoes outside on December 5th, in hopes that St. Nicholas will stop by & fill them with treats. I also read a fun way to share in the “giving” is to leave a loaf of bread & treats on someone else’s door step. So, the girls & I will be delivering this to Julie’s house later on!