who needs one more thing to remember and celebrate in the month of December? isn’t it already full to overflowing with obligations and too much stuff? at our house, the celebration of Advent and it’s feasts has given us a chance to step away from the obligations. it has created a way to enjoy the season and truly turn our hearts as our earth turns again toward the light. the celebrations that i’ll be describing in the next few weeks are simple and practical and inexpensive. and every effort to bring more attention and thought to our celebrations will be rewarded.
December 6 is the feast day of St Nicolas, a perfect way to gently begin the Christmas season. Nicolas was a bishop in Myna in the early 4th century. today he is remembered as the patron saint of children. in Holland children leave carrots for the saint’s donkey in their shoes on the night of the 5th. in the morning they wake to find them filled with little practical things that they need–school supplies and the like. the next day at tea time, children enjoy speculaas cookies…the same little gingerbread treats in the shape of St Nicholas that Gertrude Mueller Nelson baked for us.
- food–last year we made the simple and moist ginger oatmeal cake from the More with Less cookbook. then we cut the cake into small squares, cut a few of the squares in half on the diagonal, and made these cute little houses. a sprinkle of powdered sugar on the roof for some snow and a pretzel for a chimney to complete the look!
- art–Jessica from Shower of Roses has made these wonderful medallions to make any chocolate coins into St Nicolas gold! there are also holy cards + coloring sheets to print from the St Nicolas Center.
- story–you can find many versions of the good work of St Nicolas at the St Nicolas Center or in To Dance with God, but to tell the truth, i still haven’t come across the perfect story book for this saint. i’d love to hear your suggestions!