Saint Nicholas, a 4th century Roman Catholic bishop, was known for his good deeds, generosity to the poor, and true devotion to Jesus Christ. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made bishop at a young age.
Obeying Jesus' words to, "sell what you own and give the money to the poor, " Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He became known for his secret gift-giving, such as putting gold coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him.
Although not nationally celebrated in North America, Saint Nicholas is the beloved patron saint of children, sailors and those in need. His feast day is celebrated on December 6th, primarily in German communities throughout the United States, such as Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.
The beauty of celebrating Saint Nicholas Day is that this holy man's feast day falls in the very early weeks of Advent. With his true devotion of serving God by focusing his life's mission on doing the work of Jesus Christ, St. Nicholas Day allows children to receive tiny treats and gifts...all while focusing on the reason behind the Christmas season.
(I've owned these vintage wooden shoe forms for quite some time and thought that they would make the perfect Saint Nicholas display!)
Since my children attend Catholic school and have been busy learning about the saints throughout the year, they have been very excited about the arrival of December 6th (Saint Nicholas day). And although I did not grow up celebrating this particular feast day, I've decided to embrace my children's German heritage and begin this sweet tradition of putting out their shoes on our hearth each December 5th.
As this is our very first year to put out our shoes for St. Nick, the children were overcome with excitement and looked for the largest pair of boots they could find. As we read from our Saint's Book about St. Nicholas, my kiddos were suddenly panicked when they learned that children in Europe typically leave hay and carrots for St. Nicholas' horses. EEEEEK! We decided to color Saint pictures in his honor instead and leave them in their boots for him to find.
Wishing you sweet dreams tonight...I'm certain my little ones have visions of sugar plums...or candy canes...dancing in their heads. Be sure to drop by tomorrow to see if St. Nick came by for a visit!