Boy with Christmas Tree

Growing up, my parents did an amazing job of celebrating the liturgical seasons in our home. During Advent, there were always Advent songs playing, a magnificent green tree in the corner, and the little Magi and Holy Family set on their journey from our parents’ room to the living room. It really was a special time.

Many Catholic families fill their stockings on December 6th in commemoration of St. Nick’s feast day. Along with chocolate and goodies, my mom also put $10 into our stockings. We used that money to buy a gift for our “Secret Santa Sibling” at Christmas. However, my favorite tradition was when my siblings and I would all be doing homework or getting ready for bed, and suddenly my mom would say, “Did you guys hear that?”

There was a knock at the window, and all of us kids would stop what we were doing and run all around the house trying to catch the mystery sound, not knowing it was my dad and his friends. They used branches and long brooms to scratch on the windows outside, and finally, after nearly every window in the house was tapped, the front door would fly open and a big bag of chocolate would be thrown into the house. We all shouted and cheered, convinced that St. Nicholas had come and delivered gifts for us.

When Christmas rolled around, there was no one saying, “I’m going to stay up for Santa.” St. Nick had already had his special feast, so we were more focused and able to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. Looking back, I realized that our St. Nicholas Day celebration was just one way that my parents helped us kids stay Christ-centered during Christmas. They would also use our family prayer times to tell the story of the Holy Family making their long journey to Bethlehem. We were always anxious to hear about that great adventure St. Joseph, Mary and the not-yet-born baby Jesus took. Then there was also the excitement of altar serving for Advent masses. We were the closest ones to the wreath when our priest would bless it and light the candles.

These memories have stayed with me all these years, and they helped shape my love and understanding of the Christmas season. I hope that you're able to give your children their own special traditions that will deepen their love of preparing for this wonderful season!

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas, but even more importantly, blessings on your preparations for the coming of Christ. :)

Love, Jacob

(Married to Reanne, so technically the newest member of the Cat.Chat family)

 

How do you celebrate St. Nicholas’s feast day? We’d love to hear about one of your favorite memories or traditions. Let us know in the comments below!

P.S. Click the link to print a free St. Nicholas Coloring Page for your kids! You can also purchase and download the entire Cat.Chat Coloring Book with 33 different saints to choose from.

 

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  • Meg M.

    We bake special cookies in the shape of a bishop's mitre and pass them out to family and school friends. The youngest Atrium students, with whom my daughter volunteers, are always so excited to receive those. Each child in our home receives a book and small toy on St. Nicholas Day morning and it is the only day besides Easter that candy is a permissible part of breakfast. :) It is a good day for the children to purchase toys for a local charity in honor of the Saint.

  • Love this! What a great idea to share with both family and friends. And yes, candy at breakfast always makes for an exciting day :D

  • Janelle

    This was a beautiful reflection!!! Thanks for sharing Jacob!

  • Maria

    At night we put our shoes at the door. Then when I wake up there is a yummy treat in my shoe! This year I got a Kindre Surprise egg in my shoe and Spark my Heart CD too!!! On the table there is always a book for me and some good food for us to eat as a family that day. Hope you had a great Feast of St. Nicholas too. We can't wait to celebrate tomorrow's Solemnity, The Immaculate Conception.
    Love, Maria

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