The stories about St. Nick are actually pretty neat - for some St. Nick history, go here - how do you not like a guy known for helping the poor and protecting the children?
St. Nick's Day always brought some small gifts as we were growing up, including our yearly ornaments for the Christmas tree. Many years my parents managed to provide ornaments which signified something important that had occurred that year or just reflected some aspect of our personalities. I am so happy to have these ornaments now, walking through a little of my own history as I decorate my tree. This year Harper was old enough to be interested in some of the ornaments and hear their stories. Among others I have a piano from the year I started lessons, a volleyball playing reindeer from the year I first made the high school team, and a compass from the year I went away to college (which makes me well up a bit every year).
For my children St. Nick has gotten in the habit of bringing them an ornament and a holiday book or two. While not the point of St. Nick's Day at all I have found that it serves as a nice Christmas warm up for little kids - reminding them how much fun it is to open presents! :-)
(Rebound LOVES wrapping paper and was practically salivating while waiting for the children to open their gifts.)Someday Harper is going to ask me about St. Nick and his relation to Santa Claus, which may be hard to satisfactorily explain without blowing Santa's cover. . . for now she has worked out that St. Nick is some sort of helper for Santa and we're letting it go at that.
When I was growing up, St. Nick's Day was how I knew Christmas was REALLY getting close - it's a simple celebration, but one I hope my children will also look back on with a smile someday.
Do any of you put your shoes out for St. Nick?
Edited to add: I had a formatting problem and republished this post about eight times, hopefully it didn't show up eight times in anyone's feed reader!