St. Nicholas AND Santa Claus? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-18-2010, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have been celebrating more of the Waldorf festivals this year, and I really love the idea of celebrating St. Nicholas Day on Dec 6th, but I'm afraid that it will confuse my children because Santa visits our house on Christmas Eve. 

 

Those of you who celebrate St. Nicholas Day, does Santa visit, too? 

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Old 11-18-2010, 09:46 AM
 
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We've always celebrated both- St. Nicholas comes at nap time and leaves small gifts/treats in their shoes next to the fireplace and Santa comes on Christmas Eve. So far nobody has had any issues with it :)

It is a bit confusing but it's way too much fun to pass up.

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Old 11-18-2010, 10:00 AM
 
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We do both.  If you are devout, you can simply tell the straight story of St. nicholas and the exchanging of gifts encourage the memory of his good deeds.  Since he's not recognized by the catholic church, a non-saint version should do nicely.  Also, if you are devout, the opening of gifts early in the advent help keep the focus of christmas on jesus...if thats important to you.  my kids dont know who he is, so no issue here.

 

We do it slightly differently though....we keep the presents under the tree from the day they are wrapped (except for santa's gifts, of course) and the kids get to chose one gift to open on St. Nicholas' day. But, we do tell the story of his past and the good deeds he did, especially with the gift giving to children...they love these historical stories (almost as much fun as the origins of American's Halloween dress-up tradition)!  I think this will make an easier transition to bursting the santa myth later on as well.

 

We do it as reverence to DH's croatian heritage (birthday ring is used to give reverence to my german heritage).


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Old 11-18-2010, 10:27 AM
 
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We do both.

The children put their shoes out for St. Nicholas who leaves a small chocolate coin in them.  They all hear the story of Bishop Nicholas at school so St. Nicholas sort of exists in a different realm than Santa.  Santa is thought of more as that big jolly elf (who creates one simple handmade item for them), while St. Nicholas sort of occupies that Santa Lucia, St. Martin, St. Brigid space.

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Old 11-18-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nanette0269 View Post

We do both.  If you are devout, you can simply tell the straight story of St. nicholas and the exchanging of gifts encourage the memory of his good deeds.  Since he's not recognized by the catholic church, a non-saint version should do nicely.  Also, if you are devout, the opening of gifts early in the advent help keep the focus of christmas on jesus...if thats important to you.  my kids dont know who he is, so no issue here.

 

We do it slightly differently though....we keep the presents under the tree from the day they are wrapped (except for santa's gifts, of course) and the kids get to chose one gift to open on St. Nicholas' day. But, we do tell the story of his past and the good deeds he did, especially with the gift giving to children...they love these historical stories (almost as much fun as the origins of American's Halloween dress-up tradition)!  I think this will make an easier transition to bursting the santa myth later on as well.

 

We do it as reverence to DH's croatian heritage (birthday ring is used to give reverence to my german heritage).



What makes you say that St. Nicholas isn't recognized by the Catholic Church?


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Old 11-18-2010, 10:37 AM
 
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We do both. That was the tradition where I grew up - you'd hang your stockings on Dec. 5th, and the next morning, it will be filled with treats and small prizes. Santa comes on Christmas Eve with wrapped gifts. We do not fill the stockings again on Christmas, though.

 

Honestly, we were just so happy to get our stockings, I don't think we ever questioned it. I do remember being somewhat older (like, shortly before I stopped believing in Santa Clause), and trying to explain to someone how St. Nick related to Santa. I found it horribly confusing at the time, but managed to come up with a story I could believe in. ;)

 

I'm interested in hearing more about the Catholic comment. I grew up in a Catholic family, and went to Catholic schools, and everyone I know celebrated. Are you just talking official recognition by the church?

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Old 11-18-2010, 10:56 AM
 
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celebration of their St. Nicholas' day is not required for faithful Roman Catholics.  In the 1969 Roman Catholic revision, St. Nicholas' feast day was made optional in the roman catholic liturgical calendar, not required as it had been.  Most of the revisions that occurred at this time were to keep them as optional when they were of local/cultural significance, but not because of the church's desire....it was more of a compromise.

 

Now, from some jesuit's teacher's that I know, there is some concern of his rightful "saint" status, but while 40+ other saints became non-saints during this rewrite, his was simply moved to "optional" rather than non-saint status simply because the holiday is so ingrained in cultural traditions.  Also, there was never a formal canonization within the church to him....it was more of a grass-roots effort, which was common in those days.  That being said, many saints that were bestowed saint status via grassroots efforts over hundreds of years were eventually canonized in the church, but not him.

 

The church actually tried to diminish his impact within the catholic church over a long period of years simply because people started to worship St. Nicholas as much as Jesus.  While this is historical hearsay, it is well documented and thinking that they wanted to "lower" Saint Nicholas' standing in the church communites in order to "raise" Jesus' worship is not unthinkable by any means.

 


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Old 11-18-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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I think this is the best concise page webwise, that i've seen to explain how St. Nick became Santa, for those that are interested.  If anyone has any other good sources, I'd love to read them.  I know that my daughter wants to know how christmas began (and we celebrate christmas in a more secular fashion, with focus on family and santa), but i need to approach her interest with simplicity since we also incorporate St. Nicholas.

 

http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=35

 


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Old 11-18-2010, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melamama View Post

We do both.

The children put their shoes out for St. Nicholas who leaves a small chocolate coin in them.  They all hear the story of Bishop Nicholas at school so St. Nicholas sort of exists in a different realm than Santa.  Santa is thought of more as that big jolly elf (who creates one simple handmade item for them), while St. Nicholas sort of occupies that Santa Lucia, St. Martin, St. Brigid space.

This is exactly what I was thinking!  Thank you for articulating it for me! When I mentioned to a friend that we would be visited by both, she scoffed.  But I thought that if the stories are different between the two, why can't the celebrations be different, too? 

 

Also, we do not place any gifts under the tree until the kids are asleep Christmas Eve.  Santa comes then also, and brings one gift, unwrapped.  So the kids wake up and see their stockings full and see what Santa brought immediately. They open the rest of their gifts when everyone is awake. 

 

So what is St. Nick bringing to your house this year?  I have chocolate coins, a fruit leather, a quartz crystal, and a small wooden toy for each child.  Would love to hear what everyone else had planned because this is our first visit from St. Nick!
 

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Old 11-18-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Thank you for the information, Nanette! You know, I went to 3 different Catholic schools, and as I remember it, we never learned any of that about St. Nick's (although the holiday was, of course, talked about in school). I assume it was because we were in one of the areas with a strong tradition of celebrating the holiday, so the parishes opted to downplay that information.

 

MamaScout - we always do a clemintine in the toe of the sock, a bag of nuts, some chocolates, and a couple of small toys. This year, I think we'll have maybe some silly bands, temporary tatoos and a small action figure. If the children need new slippers for the winter (which we do this year!), I usually get them a pair, too. Otherwise I throw a pair of holiday socks ($1 at Target ;)) in there.

 

Your choices sound perfect!

 

When we were young, we got hugs stockings stuffed to the gills with candy. When I got to be a teen and was suddenly weight and calorie concious, my mom switched to putting special fresh fruit (the kind she wouldn't spring for normally) in my stocking for me. What a funny sight that was - the stocking all stretched out to accomodate a pineapple and some pomegranates. ;)

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Old 11-18-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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Also, something else to bring structure to the stocking...we always do this rule....the stocking includes something that represents each of the five senses:

taste (orange/chocolate/etc)

touch (something that has a unique texture)

smell (eg perfume)

sight (something to read)

sound (something that makes noise)

 

This makes it more fun to fill the stocking since you need to keep just 5 items in it...more of a game for the stocking-filler :)


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Old 11-20-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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We celebrate both.  My girls are still little enough not to question it.  After all, it means more treats, right?  orngtongue.gif


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Old 11-20-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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We celebrate both, though my littles (ages 2 and 5) know that it's us that brings presents, not Santa.  We all agree that it's fun to tell the story, though!  I don't think it's confusing for them because we also celebrate St. Martin's Day and Michealmas, so St. Nicholas day is just another story about a kind man whose kindness we honor in a fun way, just as we honor the story of George's bravery at Michaelmas and Martin's giving a poor man half his cloak by baking dragon bread and having a lantern walk.  HTH!


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