December 6th is always such an exciting day every year. As a child I remember gathering with my siblings the night before, clunking down our shoes in an uneven row along the front door, everyone trying to pick out the widest pair they owned to make sure St Nick had plenty of room to stuff in treats. It was always a mini-taste of Christmas to come down the stairs the next morning and see our shoes filled with goodies. Even when we were older and about to leave home for college, we kept up the tradition of St. Nicholas’ shoes and now that I’m married and have my own family, my mom still sends us a “St. Nicholas” package in the mail, filled with the same treats I grew up receiving.
Now that I’m a mom myself, I no longer can just wake up to enjoy the treats in the shoes, I have to actually plan what I’m going to put in my own family’s shoes as I carry on the spirit of St. Nicholas for another generation. Just like Christmas morning, a parent’s job is to plan and prepare the treats and the gifts if there are going to be any.
Often, it’s hard to remember to pick up little gifts for St. Nicholas Day because it comes so quickly, right at the beginning of December when we are just recovering from the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving and entering into the spirit of Advent. So I’ve compiled a list to remind myself to buy St. Nicholas gifts this year and to give me and hopefully you, some inspiration on what little treats and trinkets will fit nicely into shoes and be appreciated by the shoe wearers.
I like to buy a combination of practical and exciting gifts because we have so much “stuff” already that sometimes it seems just as well to buy items that the household needs anyway but that will still be appreciated. And of course, you have to have some options for adults if your family is like mine where even mom and dad’s shoes are included in the lineup.
- Bouncy balls
- Fuzzy socks
- Underwear (especially if you have a child who is potty training!)
- Winter hats
- Prayer cards
- Sacrifice beads of St. Therese to remind you or your children to perform acts of kindness daily
- Prayer booklets such as Catholic Book of Prayers or Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers
- Picture books such as the Magnificat children’s book collection
- Flip calendars for the new year
- CDs with Catholic/Christian Music or a Catholic talk
- DVDs such as The Story of St. Nicholas
- Wooden peg saint dolls such as each child’s patron saint
- Hot chocolate packets
- Bubble bath
- Coffee mugs
- Hair barrettes
- Snack-sized bags of chips or pretzels
- Decks of playing cards
- Gift cards for department stores or restaurants
- Christmas ornament
- Chocolate gold coins which are symbolic of the famous story of St. Nicholas dropping gold down a chimney or through a window to provide dowries for three poor women
- Oranges also traditionally symbolize the gold the St. Nicholas gave away
- Candy canes which symbolize the shepherd’s crook or crozier of a Bishop