I have always loved the story of St. Nicholas. I think I just always wanted my children to understand that Santa Claus was more than just a giver of presents. Maybe it was a way to keep the selfishness from getting too crazy at Christmas. To be honest, I think St. Nicholas was the first saint I loved.
The top picture is a craft Nathan made a few years ago at church. I found the pattern on the St. Nicholas Center web site. This is an amazing web site if you haven't seen it before. I have St. Nicholas sitting on our pie crust table in the hall beside the mantle where we have our advent decorations and are building our nativity. The children put out their shoes last night and St. Nicholas left them each a dollar and some gold coins. I am going to try to bake some cookies with Nathan today if we have the time. There are some traditional recipes on the St. Nick web site above.Finally, if you don't have any books on St. Nicholas, there are lots of stories right here to read to your little ones. My little ones aren't so little any more but they still love a good story. The Saint Nicholas Web site has a section just for kids. Click here to check it out. Here is another web page with the story of St. Nicholas and some activities. Here is a simple coloring page. St. Nicholas was bishop of what is now the country of Turkey. If your kids like geography, see if they can locate Turkey on the map. For Christmas traditions around the globe click here.
Finally, do something for someone else today. St. Nicholas had plenty and he gave to those in need out of his own blessings. Today, give to someone out of your own blessings. Give a kind word or smile to everyone you meet. Bake cookies and surprise the neighbors. Visit your grandparents. You get the idea. Just take the time to do something simple and kind for someone else and you will share Christ's love just as St. Nicholas did so many years ago.
***After publishing this post I found lots of other links to good ideas on the blog O Night Divine. Check it out!****