Thrifty Christmas - Part 4

Can you believe how fast time flies? Saturday was the feast day of Saint Nicholas! I'm sure most of you are scratching your heads right now going "huh?". Well, for those of you who have not figured it out yet, we are Catholic. I don't want to spend to much time explaining our faith and the Churches doctorine so if you have questions feel free to email us or do a google search (but please only read creditable sources). But the world's beloved Santa Claus is actually a true saint, Saint Nicholas.

The Church celebrates the feast day of St. Nicholas on December 6th. St. Nicholas was a wonderful man who did countless good deeds. Two of the things he was most know for was giving the poor money and protecting children. Centries later we have spinned the truth so much that we have ended up with a Santa who seems to have different motives on a different day.

Our house is different.

We have started a new tradition to combate the comercialization and greediness surrounding gift giving. Every year we celebrate St. Nick's feast day in a big way. We start be reading the kids stories of the saint's good deads. We have a few activities like coloring pictures. Then we bake our Christmas cookies for the year. And we bake a lot of them! What do we do with them? Do we keep them all for ourselves? No way, in fact we barely keep any of them. I usually keep one or two dozen, but the rest we give away.

Where do they all go? To the people that St. Nicholas would want to have them. We take them to our elderly neighbors (5 couples) who are basically shut-ins during the winter because of all the snow and ice we get. Then we take the rest of them to true shut-ins. I call our Church office in advance (or that morning) and get a list of people along with addresses and phone numbers. Everyone is so excited to see to see a young kids at their day with fresh baked cookies. Of course they are more excited to have companionship during the cold months. If you do this, please allow enough time at each stop. Most people would like for you to stay 30 minutes or more. They really are lonely and love to watch the kids play.

This is a great chance for kids to see what the true meaning of Christmas is. Our goal is for our children to understand that it is okay to only get a few small gifts. It's really about what you GIVE not recieve. Last year our daughter meet a lady who was excited to see us and was talking about how lonely she was since her husband died. She didn't have any family left in the area and could not get out because it was to cold. After we left my daughter had a lot of questions about the lady and her husband. Even though some of those questions I would rather avoid, it was a great learning experience for her. She felt good that she made the lady happy that day.

This is one the most important days of the holiday in our home. It is a tradition that our children will remember. It is also a tradition that only takes some flour, a little gas, and your time. The spiritual and emotional benefits are countless and down playing of recieving gifts is priceless.

Some of you might be thinking that this is a great idea, if I was Catholic. You don't have to be Catholic to explain the real Santa to your kids. If you would rather not, that is okay to. Just pick a day before Christmas to explain the giving part of the season and then do just that with your kids, grandkids, neices or nephews, or even the neighbor kids.

Did you celebrate St. Nicholas's feast day on Saturday? If so what did you do?


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