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St. Nicholas Day Musings

 I am trying to introduce as many Catholic traditions as possible to my children, so they may enjoy a good variety of faith-based activities and start to find ways to incorporate their faith into their everyday life.  My goal is that they will adopt the mentality of “love God, serve others.”

 Yet, I am having trouble with St. Nicholas’ Day.  Do I really tell my daughter(4) that if she leaves her shoes out St. Nick will put a treat in them?  Although it’s a meaningful tradition, I’m not sure that, at this point in my daughter’s life, if I introduce him like THAT he will be more than another “fictional” character that brings her goodies.  He would just be another Easter Bunny.

     Instead, I think I will focus tomorrow on the story and message of St. Nicholas, as well as soon of the cool crafts I found here.  I’m a little torn about it, though. 


Studies* with young children (ages 4-7) in the Netherlands show that St. Nicholas encourages positive, sharing behavior:

"One may think that traditions like the Dutch Saint Nicholas tradition makes children materialistic, greedy, and less likely to share with others as they are spoiled with gifts and candy. However, our results clearly show that children in The Netherlands still associate Saint Nicholas with ‘sharing with others’  . . . .

"Significant others, such as family members, friends, and Saint Nicholas, are pre-eminently the people that influence us and that teach us what is good, and what is bad, and what the social norms are in our society… . Give Dutch children a coloring picture depicting the attributes of Saint Nicholas (a book, miter, and a staff) and they will give away more of their candy.”

study cited here

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