St. Nicholas Day: Traditions & How To Celebrate
St. Nicholas Day celebrates St. Nicholas, the man who inspired Christmas and Santa Claus that we all know and love. Read more about what St. Nicholas Day is and how to celebrate it.
The history of St. Nicholas and his good deeds was part of the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus and Father Christmas, which is why there are traditions of leaving gifts in people’s boots or shoes (or stockings).
What is St. Nicholas Day?
St. Nicholas Day is also known as the Feast of Saint Nicholas, Feast of Santa Claus, and Father Christmas Eve.
In some parts of Europe, it is a religious holiday while in other countries it is purely secular with no ties to any religion or church whatsoever.
It’s a fun time for kids all around the globe who look forward to receiving gifts from their beloved Saint Nick!
St. Nicholas Day falls on December 6th every year and marks a celebration that takes place before Christmas when children put out their shoes by their beds at night in hopes that they will be filled with treats by morning from Saint Nick himself!
How To Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
Join hundreds of thousands of observers all over the world by hanging up a stocking, or leaving out a shoe so St Nicholas can fill it during the night.
In the Netherlands, children put their shoes in front of their chimneys in hopes of finding chocolate or a small toy in their shoes when they wake.
In Germany, children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day and hope to find candy, coins, and maybe a small gift in them.
Good children receive treats – candies, cookies, apples, and nuts – while naughty children receive lumps of coal.
Across the globe, St Nicolas Day is also celebrated with parades, feasts, and even festivals.
Gift Ideas for Saint Nicholas Day
- chocolates, oranges, candy canes
- small toys, a Christmas book, or a movie
- chocolate coins
- Lenten Speculaas Cookies
Books about St. Nicholas Day
Children will love learning about different aspects of this celebration in these great children’s books and celebrating along with their favorite characters! Here are some suggestions for great reads during this holiday season:
The Saint Nick Story
The Saint Nick Story reminds children that even when life doesn’t always seem fair, God’s love will find you. With rhythmic prose and vivid illustrations, this book will entertain, encourage, and teach them about being like Christ, and will help you create new holiday traditions to celebrate with your child.
The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving
This book is about a young man named Nicholas who was moved by the plight of poor and needy people. He spent his life helping them in secret, giving gifts on Christmas Eve to remind everyone that Jesus Christ is indeed their greatest Gift ever given!
This gentle Christmas story introduces you not only to St Nicholas but also inspires readers everywhere to how they can be cheerful givers too.
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
This picture book presents a shortened, somewhat fictionalized version of the life story of Saint Nicholas.
The story of Saint Nicholas is a great example for children to follow. The author writes that God’s love was reflected through this servant who helped three young girls receive dowries so they could get married, just like Jesus did in scripture!
Other Ideas to Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day
The celebration doesn’t have to end with children receiving treats. I like putting on a DVD of St Nicholas for my kids and discussing the story of the real St. Nick.
Here are a few more ways to celebrate the day:
- Choose a family or a person who is in need and leave cookies anonymously on their porch.
- Watch Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa DVD
- Get the kids crafting with St Nicholas Day Crafts & Printables
- Experience some of the local Saint Nicholas Day festivities, and check ahead of time for events
Here’s a fun resource with a ton of ideas for celebrating St. Nicholas Day.
Hello, I’m A Crazy Family!
A Crazy Family strives to be the go-to destination for modern, savvy moms. Our aim is to share great tips, good food, recommendations, and helpful info for smart, busy moms just like you!