Happy St. Nicholas Day…With a Twist


Several years ago, we lived in a townhome in a lovely little neighborhood.  We loved our neighbors – which is good since our houses were close – we shared driveways, yards, and we could even pass things hand to hand from our back deck.  They all were a bit older than we were and most of their kids were grown and gone.  These lovely neighbors embraced our little babies as their own and showered them with love like grandparents.  They had bubbles and chalk for them all summer, Easter eggs for them to find in the spring, and welcomed them running and playing in their yards and driveways all year around.

St. Nicholas Day

Our first Christmas there, one neighbor asked us to have the kids put their boots out on the front step for St. Nicholas Day.  Never having heard of this, I asked all kinds of questions.  My sweet neighbor shared with me that St. Nicholas was the patron saint of children in need and was known for his secret gift-giving.  She told me of kids all over Europe putting their boots, clogs, and shoes out for St. Nick to leave small gifts for them.  She had a few small things for the kids and so my little babies happily put their shoes on the front step before bed.

They woke to sweet little gifts in their boots – chocolate coins, gloves, stickers, and little toys.  My kiddos loved it!  We talked that year about how St. Nicholas brought gifts to children in need, struggling families, and the ill.  From that year on, my kid’s shoes were on the front porch every December 6th.  And every year we lived there, our kindhearted neighbor filled the boots that my babies set out.

Keeping the Tradition Alive

When we moved away, I didn’t even think about that little tradition until our first December rolled around in our new home.  My kids asked when to put their boots out.  I quickly scrambled to round up small gifts to fill their shoes and well, we managed to keep the tradition alive.

We’ve continued to put our shoes out for St. Nicholas every year since then.  My oldest now knows who fills her boot, but she still loves to join her younger brother in the excitement.  Every year, we discuss the giving spirit of St. Nicholas as he made children and families around the world smile.

Then, two years ago, my oldest decided she wanted to play St. Nicholas for a friend who was struggling.  Her good friend’s parents were going through a troubling divorce and my daughter wanted to do something to make her smile.  She decided a secret surprise gift for St. Nicholas Day – no matter how small – was just the thing.

A Twist

So, she put her own twist on St. Nicholas Day.

Since then, both kids have jumped in – deciding on a friend each St. Nicholas Day who needs a smile and a pick me up.  They find something small and secretly pass it on to their friend, never revealing their identity as the gift giver.  They love it!  We love it!

So, this December 5th/6th, whether you celebrate St. Nicholas Day or not, think about someone who could use a little light in their life and maybe surprise them with a small gift. They may not be putting their boots out – but you can certainly fill their “boot” and make their day with a kind note, chocolate, or small token to show them someone cares about them. So, go fill a boot!  And enjoy a happy St. Nicholas Day…with a twist!