By Susan Ciancio
St. Nicholas’ feast day is December 6, and you likely already have your plans set, but just in case you are a looking for last-minute ideas or you want to archive this for next year, we’ve got some fun pro-life twists to help celebrate this special feast day.
Though the legend surrounding St. Nicholas and his ties to Santa Claus are well known, many people don’t celebrate this day. As you likely know, tradition has it that children leave their shoes in a common area of the house and receive a small gift inside of them when they wake up (or you could do this after they get home from school!). We explain why you should celebrate this day and how these gifts can help your child build a culture of life.
St. Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop of Myra, which is today a part of Turkey. He was well known for his generosity, as he gave everything he had to the poor. The most famous story tells of a man who had three daughters, but who could not afford to give a potential suitor any money for their dowries. Because they had no money, the daughters were in danger of having to resort to illicit means of financial gain. When he heard this, Nicholas was filled with compassion. According to the story, on three separate occasions, an anonymous person (St. Nicholas) threw a bag of gold through the old man’s window—enough for one daughter each time.
Because St. Nicholas is such a perfect example of charity, compassion, and love for his fellow man, we want to help you celebrate this pro-life saint with your children. Below are some ideas for meaningful, yet fun, pro-life gifts you can put in your children’s shoes that will help open a conversation, not only about St. Nicholas, but about how they can use his example to build a culture of life within their homes and communities.
Small St. Nicholas statue (a plastic 2-inch figurine)
Children of all ages love statues of saints to look at and hold. These serve as a reminder of the saint’s life and of how we should behave. Some kids even feel protected because they know the saint is watching over them. Giving your child a small statue, talking about what St. Nicholas did and how your child can emulate him, then choosing a place of honor for the statue will serve as a great reminder that we should all strive to see the dignity in others and help when we can. You can even take the statue to Mass the next time you go and ask the priest to bless it!
The materials to make your own knot rosary
This is perfect for children of any age—even teens! I did this when my children were younger, and they all loved it. Follow the link above to learn how to create your very own rosary. It’s easier than you think! The materials are easily found at any craft store. All you need is a crucifix for the end. Making a rosary with your children will not only give them pride in creating something holy and special, but as you do it, you can talk about the importance of prayer in building a culture of life. Make a list of the people you will pray for—friends, family, preborn babies, and so on. Explain that St. Nicholas prayed many times a day and that it’s important to build a relationship with God by praying. Don’t forget to have your rosary blessed!
A Precious Feet pin
This beautiful pin is modeled after the tiny feet of a 10-week old preborn baby and is perfect for older children, who will marvel at the tiny feet. The pin will serve as a reminder that preborn babies aren’t just “blobs of tissue” and that they are just smaller versions of you and me. When your teen wears this pin, he will find that many people will begin conversations about it. This will help your teen articulate his pro-life beliefs. Practice with your child what he should say if someone comments on the pin. (This may be a little harder to find by St. Nicholas’ feast day, but your local Catholic bookstore may sell them.)
Books with a pro-life theme
Chritmas books like Little Star, God Gave Us Christmas, and Santa’s Secret Story are not only fun to read with kids, but will help open a conversation about why every single person is important and valued. Read our blog post to learn more about these books and to find others just like them! Then snuggle and read one (or two or three!) and talk about how your child can make other people feel special.
A package of Lifesavers
Kids love candy! And this candy has a name they can live up to! Just like St. Nicholas saved the lives of the three young girls and kept them from doing things to harm their souls, your children can be lifesavers. With each piece they eat, have them think of some way to help another person or to make a difference in someone’s life. Remind them that, even though they are small, they can do things to help others—whether that’s through prayer or through kind deeds—and that these things are actually big deals!
Keychains picturing pro-life saints like St. Gerard or St. Gianna Molla
Older kids love keychains! And what better way to remind your children of pro-life saints than to have images of these saints in their pockets and in their hands several times each day. When you give your kids these keychains, you can talk about why these people are the patron saints of motherhood and preborn babies and how we can use their examples to build a culture of life.
Matchbox rescue vehicles
This fun toy can help you discuss pro-life themes with your children. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and military vehicles remind us that there are many people who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. Explain to children that they can be just like them, even at their age. They can help protect people and babies with their prayers. They can protect the lonely kid at school by being a friend. And they can protect younger (and even older!) siblings by being kind and loving.
Spiritual Adoption prayer cards
Spiritually adopting a preborn baby is a great way to teach your children about the value of a preborn baby. When you spiritually adopt a preborn baby, you give your baby a name and then pray for this baby every day. A great time to add this prayer to your daily routine is at dinnertime. You can download a card here and print it out! This is awesome for kids of all ages!
We hope you have a wonderful and blessed St. Nicholas Day and that some of these items bring a little of the joy of the culture of your life into your home.
For craft ideas and for more ways to celebrate this awesome feast day, visit stnicholascenter.org.
Please note: Amazon links are affiliate links for the Culture of Life Studies Program. The CLSP will receive a small donation when you purchase through our links. Thank you for considering. All money will go to help equip teachers and students with pro-life gear and materials.