Many parents try very hard to instill in their young children Catholic customs and traditions preserved in the home, thus teaching the Faith.
St. Nicholas Day is a terrific way for kids to learn about the true Father Christmas, the original Santa Claus.
St. Nicholas was a man of faith who cared for the poor and needy. He teaches kids it is more important to give than to receive. He seeks out poor children who have been good and rewards them with surprises.
St. Nicholas Day points to Christmas Day, a slight break in the rigor of Advent, a bit like Gaudete Sunday. A day for children to celebrate and take note of the season of giving.
There is always a spiritual dimension to gift-giving. God sees all the little children and knows who has been naughty and nice. The good little children are rewarded and the naughty ones are passed over.
Always read to your kids stories of the lives of the saints! Allow them to be immersed in Christian lore. They will learn Christian virtue and thus be inspired. The saints were real-life people who inspire greatness.
Teaching your kids to honor St. Nicholas, a holy bishop and helper of many, is honor is given to the Christ Child, who gave himself to us as the best Christmas gift ever, nay, the the greatest gift of all.
Before the kids go to sleep on the vigil of the feast, carefully instruct them to line up their shoes for when St. Nicholas visits during the night. If they have been good, he will unfailingly drop candy in them.
When I was a child, my kindly father instructed us to do this and we did, with great eagerness, every year, carefully placing our shoes at the bottom of the stairs along the side of the piano. We were so excited, we could barely sleep. In the morning, we raced down to see the candy with shouts of: "Mom! Dad! Look! St. Nicholas came! I was a good little boy!"
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