Happy St. Nicholas Day!
While we may not do the whole Santa thing, we do recognize Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, on this day of his commemoration. We started the day with a few small gifts in the children’s stocking–an orange, some candies, an ornament, and the gifts Turkey and Bunny purchased for their siblings at the Dollar Spot at Target. They, of course, thought this was great fun!
Once school began, we read Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, which is an excellent book from CPH. As the title suggests, this book tells the story of the actual St. Nicholas, (or at least as much of it as we know), as opposed to the normal Santa stories we hear at this time of year. This story illustrates the faith and generosity of Nicholas of Myra, as well as reminds us that we should be practicing that same generosity (and not only at Christmas!), because of the generosity God shows to us in the gifts He gives us.
We then read another version of this same story in The Kingfisher Book of Classic Christmas Stories. This time, however, we read a Dutch legend, instead of a biographical story, and there were some glaring differences. It is much easier to see where our Santa mythology comes from when reading this particular version–According to the Dutch, St. Nicholas stood on rooftops, and tossed coins down chimneys, which then landed in stockings. It was fun to compare and contrast the two stories, even if this one veered pretty far from the truth.
We also watched the Veggie Tales DVD, Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving. This was, naturally, mostly just for fun, (who doesn’t love Veggie Tales?), but there was some historical information in this recording. I will admit, however, you really have to look for it–this particular story takes some real liberties with the life of Nicholas, especially as it tries to morph his story into the Santa mythos. In spite of that, it does once again capture the spirit of generosity, which is always a good lesson for children to learn, and hear over and over. I would suggest that it’s a good idea to talk about this one with the children, to make sure that they understand the difference between the fact and fiction in this video.
Today’s craft project was a “Handprint Wreath.” Now, I realize that this had nothing to do with St. Nicholas, but it was a lot of fun, and I’m a sucker for handprint crafts. Plus, it looks really cute!