Dec, 6 marks the Catholic feast day of St. Nicholas, said the Manila Bulletin Dec. 5. He was a fourth century bishop and patron saint of Orthodox Christians, Russia, Holland and children around the world. Dec. 6 is Saint Nicholas Day in many countries. He is the Christmas gift-giving figure and basis for the Santa Claus legend, St.Nick's acts of charity weren't myth, however. If you want to celebrate a more Christ-centered Advent and Christmas, here are free printable St. Nicholas activities.
First-School has an adorable St. Nicholas Advent calendar to print free. There are free printable advent wreath crafts, Bible Christmas lesson plans, nativity of Jesus coloring pages and more.
St. Nicholas Center is dedicated to the promulgation of the faith through devotion to St. Nicholas. Visit the activities page with free printable St. Nicholas games, crafts, lesson plans, hidden pictures, puzzles, word search and 3D cut and paste play set. You can print a free St, Nicholas coloring bookfeaturing holy cards, Byzantine icons and stained glass images of the saint. Even older children will enjoy coloring these beautiful sacred images. Use as an art lesson to explore Byzantium and the Eastern Orthodox church. Older children might color the images and write a narrative of St. Nicholas's. Then assemble into a book, laminate and read annually on the Feast of St. Nicholas.
Catholic Mom has free printable Catholic Christmas activities in the Sunday gospel section. There are free printable advent activities too. EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) has a Catholic Kidssite with holiday and holy day lesson plans, games, crafts, recipes and activities. Check the main site for viewings of the cartoon Nicholas: the Boy Who Became Santa Claus. Youtube has a video on Nicholas, the Real Santa Claus.
Don't forget the best-loved St. Nicholas Day tradition. It comes from the Netherlands. On St. Nicholas eve, December 5, children leave their shoes out near the door. Legend says St. Nicholas, dressed in his bishop's robe and mitre, rides by on a white stallion and leaves presents in shoes. Children leave a hot drink for St. Nicholas and hay or a carrot for his noble steed.
Nicholas's feast day is Dec. 19 in the Julian Orthodox calendar.