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St. Nicholas Feast Adventures | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

St. Nicholas Feast Adventures

Now that my kids are teens, I have to remind them to put their shoes out for St. Nicholas’s feast day. Shoes are set out by the door with care, and somehow, some way, presents are there in the morning. Of course, if it involves my family and me, you know there are and were some bumps along the road….

  • I didn’t grow up Catholic and had never heard of the tradition of presents in the shoes. Several years ago, when my kids were 5 and 7, on St. Nicholas Day, we went to see some friends who were Catholic. They showed my kids the wonderful treats they received that morning. Then my kids cried. “Were we that bad?” “Why didn’t St. Nick leave us anything too?” “We’re Catholic – why did he skip us?” So, like all desperate mothers, I explained what happened. St. Nick was sooo busy that night he hadn’t had time to deliver everything. So our turn was that night. Miraculously, the next morning, presents were in their shoes at the door. For the rest of that Advent season, I saw kids’ shoes out in different places. After a couple of weeks, I realized their plan: perhaps St. Nicholas would make a return trip. They analyzed which locations and which shoes were most likely to receive presents.
  • The reappearing shoe trick was tried a few more years, to no avail.
  • A few years ago, St. Nicholas’s toolshop had had a very good year, and wrapped presents of legos were under those shoes. When my kids went to swim practice, my son ran in and told everyone what he had gotten. We were the lone Catholics in a sea of Protestants, none of whom practiced the St. Nicholas Feast Day. One mother, when she heard him, asked, “Isn’t St. Nicholas’s feast some sort of Catholic thing?”
  • I assured her, “It’s okay – we are Catholic.”
The best present St. Nicholas ever gave me was in May instead of December, when my son was born. He holds a special place in my heart – so much so that our son is named after him. I don’t have a debate about whether or not Santa Claus is real; we know he was. Stories about him tell of his generosity and his willingness to help children, most particularly those who were in desperate situations. I understand that one.
St. Nicholas only has a few years left to fill my kids’ shoes before they leave for college. Though we were late starters, I can assure you he WILL deliver!
Deck the halls with boughs of holly – but make sure to leave room for some shoes!

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