So today we started a new tradition, and I am SO happy that we did. Today we celebrated St Nicholas Day. Today, Dec 6th, is the Feast Day of St Nicholas. He was born in the 4th century and was known for his anonymous gifts. Specifically, there is a story about him giving a father 3 bags of gold for each of his daughters to use as a dowry. He dropped the gold down the chimney, thus Santa Claus now comes down the chimney. Nicholas was arrested and put in prison for his beliefs but many years later was released when Constantine came into power. When he was released from prison he was old and had white hair and a white beard. Also, because he was a bishop he wore red. Do we see where "Santa Claus' may have come from :) One fact I learned was that St. Nicholas was actually present at the Council of Nicaea and helped write the Nicene Creed. Very Interesting.
So what did we do for St Nick Day? Well, last night we made St Nick cookies and read a story about St Nicholas. The light began to dawn on the older two that the girls in the story received presents on St Nicholas Day. So we lined up 3 pairs of shoes by the fire place. Put out our fresh baked cookies and some milk. And of course some carrot strips for St. Nick's donkey. (Guess he doesn't bring as many presents as Santa so a donkey will do....no need for a whole sleigh and 8 reindeer!) Then the kids went to bed because St Nick will not come unless you are asleep!
I stayed up and made a Crosier coffee cake. Well actually three because the recipe made that many. I was so proud of myself. I made a real, from scratch, with yeast and kneading and rising, braided coffee cake! And it was awesome if I do say so myself! I made it so we would have a special treat for breakfast. I also cut out 13 felt St Nicks for a craft project. I sank into bed around 11:30pm...UGH.
We finished off the day with our advent prayers and reading our new books. It was really a GREAT day and I am so excited about continuing this tradition in the years to come. The kids enjoyed their simple presents but also really understood that we were celebrating a real person that did real things for the faith. They even made plans to say anonymous ( "Secret") prayers for others throughout Advent. What a wonderful way to start off Advent and focusing on the real meaning of Christmas!