How To Celebrate St. Nicholas Day; Ideas, Printables, and More!

Many Catholic children around the world celebrate St. Nicholas day! It is said that there were three poor girls that could not get married because they had no dowry, and St. Nicholas came and secretly left three purses of gold for them at night. So the tradition of leaving out shoes to be filled with gifts was born of a generous stranger leaving presents for those in need.

saint nicholas day treat ideas

Click this picture to access this printable

A great way to have your children leave your shoes outside on December 5 to find them filled with small treats on St. Nicholas day morning!

So, what do you put in the shoes? Here are some ideas:candy canes for st. nicholas day

  • Chocolate gold coins to symbolize the gold left in the girls’ shoes
  • Candy canes to symbolize the crozier that a bishop carries
  • An orange or tangerine
  • Nuts
  • Cookies or candies
  • Packs of hot chocolate mix
  • Small toys
  • A new penny
  • Child’s nativity set
  • Christmas ornaments (Each of my kids find a Christmas ornament in their shoe that is special to that year. My mom started this tradition. By the time I moved out, I had a lifetime of meaningful ornaments to put on my tree! The ornaments might symbolize a family memory, trip, or a special event from that year.)
  • Religious Christmas toys, books, movies, etc (that you want your children to receive before Christmas)
  • St. Nicholas holy cards
  • Books or movies about St. Nicholas
  • Supplies to make a St. Nicholas craft
  • Chocolate Santa Claus turned St. Nick


More Ideas To Make St. Nicholas’ Feast Day Meaningful

You can have each child write a letter to the Christ Child to leave in their shoes when you set them out. Write what sacrifices and good deeds you are going to do during Advent to prepare for His coming, and how much you are anticipating His arrival!  Leave the letter (called a “Christkindl Brief”) in your shoe, along with a carrot for St. Nicholas’ horse.  In the morning, the letter and carrot are gone, and treats are in their place!  😉

This is a printable template for a letter to the Christ Child available in The Advent Christmas Planner.

This is a printable template for a letter to the Christ Child available in The Advent Christmas Planner.

St. Nicholas can also leave craft supplies in the shoes for the child to complete on St. Nicholas day! My older kids are going to find the printable St. Nichols ornaments from my Advent Saints set in their shoes this year. 🙂

saint nicholas craft

My preschool girls are going to find the toilet paper tube St. Nicholas in their shoes to assemble- he’s from my Alphabet Saint collection. You can find all of my St. Nicholas crafts here.

printable saint nicholas craft

My new Holidays In Handprints ebook also has a St. Nicholas page that includes his story and a handprint craft, so we may do that as well!

St. Nicholas Day Books

The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale– This is a pretty cute book- I love the illustrations! You can get it on the Kindle for just .99 cents, so that makes is a great option for the thrifty or the last minute planner.

The St. Nicholas Book: A Celebration Of Christmas Past– this is another one that we have and enjoy. It’s a quaint St. Nicholas treasury that includes many short stories, poems, etc from different authors.

Santa’s Favorite Story- basically a book where Santa tells the story of baby Jesus. Very cute.

books for st

St. Nicholas Day Movies

We also watch the CCC movie- Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa. You can see my review of the movie here. We also watch Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, which is pretty cute and the kids love it.

A lot of this post is straight from The Advent Christmas Planner. It’s not too late to start planning your Advent! Read about the planner by clicking the picture below. Check out all of my ideas for celebrating the true meaning of the season here. 

The Advent Christmas Planner- available from Catholic Icing

Pin It


  1. Thanks, Lacy! I am using your Advent planner this year, and love it. Just got the Baker’s Dozen Kindle book to read tomorrow – great idea 🙂

  2. Sr Paschalina Marie says

    I wish you a blessed feast of St. Nicholas! A wonderful priest friend of ours, Fr. Joseph Marquis, and co-ordinator of the St. Nicholas Institute, has just released a lovely DVD called: Saint to Santa: How St. Nicholas became Santa Claus. It is being distributed by Pauline Books and Media and is directed to children from ages 3-9. I can’t wait to share it my Religious Ed children! You can find out more about it here: There is a preview here:
    May the Lord continue to pour out His blessings upon you, Lacy, and on your family! We love Catholic Icing!

  3. Katie McDonald says

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I’m a convert to Catholicism and your blog has given me lots of ideas to share my faith with my 11 and 12 year old children who are a different faith. I’m learning so much from your blog and traditions that you share are one of the things that I love about Catholicism.

Share a Comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.