I hope you all have a beautiful feast of St. Nicholas!
I have so enjoyed learning more about this great Saint of the Church who became Santa Clause! We’ve never celebrated the traditions of St. Nicholas’ day before, so this year I did some research and adopted all the traditions I found: put out shoes for St. Nicholas to fill, and he brings oranges, chocolate gold coins, a Christmas-themed book, and Christmas PJ’s.
The kids loved it! I tried to snap a picture, but I crashed into bed before I remembered to take a “before” shot, and they were too fast for me to take anything but blurs in the morning! We read all their new books while they tried on their new PJs and ate their chocolate coins and oranges (in that order ;) ). It was a joyful and special morning!
The books I chose (although I wanted them all, but had to stick to budgetary concerns) were:
St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins, by Jim Forest
What a gorgeous book! The story focuses on “Nick” as a young man in Patara, how he realizes his dreams of having great adventures at sea can be lived most fully by an act of generosity among his own neighbors: secretly giving a great part of his inheritance to three young women who cannot afford to marry. There is a lot of background between Nicholas and his guardian/uncle, a Bishop, and the beautiful example of charity he provides for Nicholas. At the end there is a historical note which, I believe, explains more about St. Nicholas’ adult life as a priest and bishop and the legends that we have of him–but, frankly, I haven’t been able to hold their attention long enough to get to that part. ;) I was so pleased with this telling of his story!
The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men, by Isabelle Brent
Another beautiful book! My girl is craaazy about horses, so this seemed the perfect way to immerse her in the story of our Savior’s birth. It did not dissapoint! The story itself is fairly bland–three wise men see the star, track it down, run into swirling desert sands, etc., and finally find the Infant King–but it is charmingly told through the perspective of the horse who serves its master faithfully, and the pictures are so vibrantly rendered that it truly helps the reader imaginatively participate in the journey. The picture of the Christ Child is the perfect finale.
The Story of Christmas, by George Brundage (St. Joseph carry-me-along board books)
That kid is coming up on 2 years old. I can barely believe it! But he has fallen in love with a “Guardian Angels” book in the back of our church that is also from this series, and I knew it was the one for him. He started gasping and pointing and murmuring “Mama…” (at Mary) right away. The illustrations have a lovely vintage charm. The text minimal and straightforward, and the scenes are well selected. And it even has a handle! I am hoping it will induce him to sit in the pew for most of Mass, instead of needing to be dragged out to the back right away!
Well, now they are off waging some sort of pirate war against their younger brother (or with him now? It’s hard to tell!) and I’ve got work to do.
P.s., If you’re still looking for a lovely Christmas gift (or something for yourself!), don’t forget to look at my new 2017 liturgical-year and calendar-year planners! Give the gift of a year organized around a faithful home!