Celebrating St. Nicholas

On December 6th it is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Today I wanted to share with you some of our favorite activities to do this special day. I love this feast day because it reminds me to focus on a real person that existed that did so much good in secret and continues to inspire people. I do not tell my kids about Santa, but instead I tell them about a real person, St Nicholas.

I usually pick a story to tell about St. Nicholas to my kids. There are a lot of great ones and there is a place for free stories here. Choose one that speaks to your kids and try to retell it using puppets for the younger ones or by the fire while you retell it. The younger kids love to recreate the story with the puppets and there’s something magical about storytelling by the fire on a cold winter day.

There are also some crafts you can do with free instructions here and a clay craft here.

If you need some easy recipes they are here. My favorite is the strawberry and banana breakfast that looks like a candy cane.

While you are doing these crafts and baking these recipes it is great to talk about St. Nicholas. I use these basic points to discuss with my own kids.

Those are some basic ideas to get you started on the celebration. I also wanted to share with you a list that I use for a random acts of kindness that I use every year to help bring out focus onto kindness instead of gifts. You can do an act every day and talk about it with your kids at bedtime in how they did their good deed.

Feel free to copy onto notecards and each person pick a card to do each day at random! I had this list printed out a few years ago so if you have a link please let me know.

Week 1:

Day One 
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart ~ Helen Keller

Today, give the gift of Affection; offer someone a hug.
Family Activity:  Set up stones on the Advent table & paint some Story Stones

Day Two 
One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a friend better that any possession ~ Sophocles

Today, give the gift of Acceptance; tell a friend what you like about them.
Family Activity: Make clay ornaments for the Christmas Tree

Day Three 
Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
 ~ Henri M. Nouwen

Today, give the gift of Laughter; share a joke with someone.
Family Activity: Make star lanterns

Day Four
Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around ~ Leo Buscaglia

Today, give the gift of Empathy; offer your full attention and listen to someone who is having a difficult time.
Family Activity: Star gazing in the backyard

Day Five 
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world ~ Anne Frank

Today, give the gift of Surprise; leave a surprise gift for someone to find.
Family Activity: Gemstone/fossil fossicking

Day Six (St Nicholas Day)
Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of loving-kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in you smile. ~ Mother Teresa

Today, give the gift of Happiness; smile at three people.
Family Activity: Open

Week 2:
Day Seven  
No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. ~ Amelia Earhart

Today, give the gift of Helpfulness; offer a helping hand to someone.
Family Activity: Make evergreen wreath for the door and for the advent ring

Day Eight 
A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles. ~ Washington Irving

Today, give the gift of Self-love; say something loving to yourself.
Family Activity: Fruit picking/Jam making

Day Nine 
Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on ~ Henry Burton

Today, give the gift of Kindness; in your words and your deeds.
Family Activity: Orange & clove pomanders

Day Ten 
The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humour and style and generosity and kindness. ~ Maya Angelou

Today, give the gift of Joy; sing with family and friends
Family Activity: Plant a tree or bush/Tend the garden

Day Eleven
Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstandings, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. ~ Albert Schweitzer

Today, give the gift of Forgiveness; for yourself and others.
Family Activity: Bush walk/clearing weeds/planting natives

Day Twelve 
Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. ~ Helen James

Today, give the gift of Hospitality; introduce yourself to someone.
Family Activity: Open

Day Thirteen 
A single act to kindness throws out roots on all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. ~ Amelia Earhart

Today, give the gift of Honesty; offer someone a sincere compliment.
Family Activity: Christmas Tree!

Week 3:

Day Fourteen 
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out. ~ Frank A. Clark

Today, give the gift of Generosity; give a secret Christmas gift to a neighbour.
Family Activity: Make/decorate beeswax Christmas candles 

Day Fifteen 
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Theresa

Today, give the gift of Caring; pick up rubbish.
Family Activity: Treat dog and bunny rabbit

Day Sixteen 
Imagine what a harmonious world it could be it every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing. ~ Quincy Jones

Today, give the gift of Purpose; share one of your talents with someone.
Family Activity: Treat cats

Day Seventeen 
Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Today, give the gift of Inner Joy; smile to yourself.
Family Activity: Treat ducks & chooks

Day Eighteen 
When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves. ~ William Arthur Ward

Today, give the gift of Appreciation; let someone know how they have helped you.
Family Activity: Donate supplies to animal shelter or carer

Day Nineteen 
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop

Today, give the gift of Thoughtfulness; hold open a door, return a cart, or pick something up for someone.
Family Activity: Open

Week 4:

Day Twenty
If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought in the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angles give. ~ George MacDonald

Today, give the gift of Intention; think kind-loving thoughts about someone.
Family Activity: Christmas Lights!

Day Twenty-One 
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one. ~ Mother Teresa

Today, give the gift of Abundance; give the gift of food to a person in need.
Family Activity: Give gifts/food to the Giving Tree

Day Twenty-Two 
Good words bring good feelings to the heart. Speak with kindness, always. ~ Robin Williams

Today, give the gift of Love; tell someone why you love them.
Family Activity: Make gifts/cards for family

Day Twenty-Three 
Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognise how good things really are. ~ Marianne Williamson

Today, give the gift of Contentment; count your blessing.
Family Activity: Make gifts/cards for friends

Day Twenty-Four – Christmas Eve
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ Dalai Lama

Today, give the gift of Gratitude; write a thank you note or draw a picture for someone.
Family Activity: Gingerbread House & cookies as gifts for neighbours


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