Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

This is the first year we've celebrated St. Nicholas Day, so we're having fun learning and making new traditions. In a little bit, the girls will wake up and find their shoes filled with a few small treats, including St. Nicholas staff (candy cane) and gold coins (chocolate) to remind them of how he gave to the three girls in the story.

Yesterday, we made cookies, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite pre-Christmas traditions.  This was the first time I made shaped cookies with the kids, and they thought it was so cool (just like play dough!).

And later, we'll spend the day making gifts for family and friends (Martha has a great list of gifts kids can make). We decided to make gift making on St. Nicholas day part of our family tradition partly because we want our children to be people who see the needs of others, like St. Nicholas did. It is all too easy to be self-involved (believe me, I know), but compassion begins with looking at the people around you, instead of yourself.  And I want to be compassionate. Our gifts won't be world changing for anyone this year, but hopefully they will help my girls and I look outward. Perhaps it will grow into something more significant.

Ultimately, I want this day to become a day of compassion for our family. Which is hard sometimes during the holidays as you recount your life, your goals, your wish lists.  I want to teach my kids compassion, but I think I'm hungering for it, too.

How do you teach your kids about giving at Christmas?

St. Nicholas and the Dowries

And be sure to check out the St. Nicholas Center!  You could easily lose an afternoon there. Which I did. So here are a few of my favorite links to help you out:

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