Shoes on St. Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day, December 6, is celebrated by children around the world in connection with the saint and his reputation as a bringer of gifts. While celebrations vary from country to country, one of the most well known traditions is the act of placing shoes in front of a chimney or outside bedroom doors the evening of December 5 for Saint Nicholas to fill with sweets and small toys. This tradition originates from stories of St. Nicholas’ secret gift giving to help those in need. It is said that people would leave their shoes out for him in hopes Nicholas would fill them with coins. The modern day custom of leaving shoes out is practiced in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and has migrated to other countries as well.

Consider doing this with your children or grandchildren, leaving small gifts that can be used to talk to children about Catholic traditions. Candy canes can represent a bishop’s crosier, chocolate coins a symbol of giving to the Church and those in need. Above all, children can learn the real story of Nicholas the Bishop and his important place in history.

by Jessica Rinaudo, Editor

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