Advent 2013 Resources

This is an update for Advent 2013 re-post of all the Advent Resources on my site or written by me:

Advent begins later this year, December 1, so it’s a shorter Advent this year. I have updated the files for Advent 2013, such as the Advent Cards and calendar.

I have a lot of preparation to do before my heart surgery, so I didn’t have time to update my Advent Alphabet as I had hoped, but my friend Lindsay created some Alphabet Cards that could be printed double-sided so her child could do the work on his own. She combined some letters so that every year it could begin on December 1st, like most Advent calendars do. See below under “Reading” for her file. I was hoping to update the list and make something more printable and easier to follow, but maybe next year when I will have a first-grader and I should have more energy!

All my posts on Advent can be found if you choose the category “Advent” in the sidebar. Also in the top menu there is “Living the Liturgical Year”, and the sub-page is Advent and Christmas which contains many printable pages I have on this website.

This looks daunting: but don’t be overwhelmed! This is a collection of our family’s traditions over the years. Just be aware of two things: 1) our traditions have developed over time, and more have been added over the years and 2) no year ever looks the same, and not everything is celebrated the same way. Sometimes feasts are not celebrated at all!

For the Christmas season and all related posts, see Christmas is Not Just One Day, But a Season: Resources Page. The Christmas page is less full, so all recipe and cookbook related links will be on that page.

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Prepare the Way of the Lord: Advent Resources

Updated for Advent 2013.

Advent begins later this year, December 2, so it’s a shorter Advent. I’m excited because there will be one week between Thanksgiving and the first Sunday of Advent — it’s always helpful to have that time to prepare. I’m currently updating some of my plans and files for 2012 (Liturgical Year 2012-13). I haven’t quite finished all my updates, especially for my reading plans, but keep returning to this post for the links and updates:

All my posts on Advent can be found if you choose the category “Advent” in the sidebar. Also in the top menu there is “Living the Liturgical Year”, and the subpage is Advent and Christmas which contains many printable pages I have on this website.

This looks daunting: but don’t be overwhelmed! This is a collection of our family’s traditions over the years. Just be aware of two things: 1) our traditions have developed over time, and more have been added over the years and 2) no year ever looks the same, and not everything is celebrated the same way. Sometimes feasts are not celebrated at all!

For the Christmas season and all related posts, see Christmas is Not Just One Day, But a Season: Resources Page. The Christmas page is less full, so all recipe and cookbook related links will be on that page.

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Living the Gospel through the Example of St. Nicholas

Every year I look forward to celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6. It remains a favorite highlight of the Advent season. Usually on the eve of St. Nicholas’ Day my family gathers with my extended family to make speculaas, Dutch spice cookies. We enjoy the family togetherness as we talk about St. Nicholas, Advent, and upcoming Christmas plans, all while cutting and baking the cookies. And these cookies will find their way into everyone’s stockings or shoes the night before St. Nicholas’ feast day.

I’m not isolated in my love of St. Nicholas and his feast day. All over the world there are so many traditions, foods, songs, and prayers all attached to this day, originating from special devotion and love of this beloved saint.

While I enjoy celebrating his feast, I do ponder on what lessons can I apply from the life of St. Nicholas, especially for my children. His feast shouldn’t be only about receiving gifts in the stockings or shoes and baking cookies. He was a living person, and I want to present to present a fully-dimensional saint that my children can learn living lessons on how to be a saint.

There is one problem with finding the true St. Nicholas. As he died in 346 A.D., it is hard to find solid biographical information. There are many stories and legends, all illustrating St. Nicholas’ strong faith and love for his flock, but are they all true? How do I present these stories? Are they just pious stories, or are they historical events?

A main source of many stories and legends is The Golden Legend (or Lives of the Saints) by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, written in 1275. During medieval times, the saints were the heroes of the day, and everyone turned to a saint for aid in his everyday needs.

In the foreword to a 1941 edition by Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger (p. xii), the authors explain that Jacobus and other hagiographers of his time were not historians.

Their writings were aimed at the hearts of their readers rather than at their minds. Their purpose was less to make known to the people what the saints had been, than to show the people what they should be in order to be saints. In other words, they were presenting the ideal of the Gospel in the most concrete possible form to an audience much more capable of understanding a graphic narrative than of grasping an abstract ethical disquisition.

And that helped me to better understand how the historical events and pious stories about St. Nicholas can both help us become saints, too, because they illustrate how to live the Gospel, which is the way to get to heaven.

We are so far removed from his time, but the miracles that happened during his life and after his death illustrate that he must have been a very dynamic person, almost larger than life. St. Francis of Assisi is one saint who had this dynamism, this fire that ignited everyone around him. When thinking of modern saints, Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Pope John Paul II both come to mind. They both lived the Gospel, loved extraordinarily, and their lives were a witness to all of being “living saints.”

St. Nicholas of Myra must have been an extraordinary person, to elicit such devotion in people both during his life and afterwards. Patron Saints Index has a long list of patronages, including, brides; children; fishermen; grooms; maidens; merchants; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; sailors; and students. The list is not all-inclusive. For example, St. Collette’s parents begged St. Nicholas to send them a child, even though they were past the child-bearing years (almost 60!). A daughter was born, and named “Nicolette” in thanksgiving for the answer to their prayers.

The stories about St. Nicholas, whether legends or completely true, are examples of living the Gospel. A concrete way to illustrate “living the Gospel” are the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy

Corporal Works of Mercy (based on Mt 25:34)*:

  1. Feed the hungry
  2. Give drink to the thirsty
  3. Clothe the naked
  4. Visit the imprisoned
  5. Shelter the homeless
  6. Visit the sick
  7. Bury the dead

*Giving Alms includes many of these works.

Spiritual Works of Mercy

  1. Admonish the sinner
  2. Instruct the ignorant
  3. Counsel the doubtful
  4. Comfort the sorrowful
  5. Bear wrongs patiently
  6. Forgive all injuries
  7. Pray for the living and the dead

As I mentally go through some of the stories of St. Nicholas, I can easily see how he practiced these works in his life. These are just a few examples:

He was very generous to the less fortunate throughout his life. He had inherited money from his parents, and gave the money to the poor, including the famous story of giving gold for dowries for the three daughters.

St. Nicholas lived during the time of the early Church, during the Emperor Diocletian. This was a difficult era for the early Church, struggling to establish Christianity in a pagan world. In his work as the Bishop or shepherd of his flock, St. Nicholas daily admonished the sinner, counseled the doubtful and instructed the ignorant. The stories of bi-location and extraordinary miracles are an illustration of how much he wanted to help those new Christians preserve their faith. There are several stories of how he “comforted the sorrowful” to the point of raising a person from the dead.

One legend he “battled” against the Prophet Mohammed, a perfect illustration of being a lover and defender of the Truth of our Faith. In modern times we still are battling in faith against Islam, so this story is very relevant to us.

There are many, many stories indicate how much St. Nicholas valued life from the beginning, and how he loved children. The well-known dowry story illustrates the importance of chastity. One of the most gruesome takes of the boys killed and put into barrels is the main story of how he became patron of students and children. During St. Nicholas’ time, children were not valued, a similar problem we find today with abortion and contraception. So through the spiritual works of admonishing the sinner and instructing the ignorant, St. Nicholas shows that life at all stages is a sacred gift from God.

And so, in thinking in stories and pictures of the life of St. Nicholas, I can more readily see how each portrayal, whether fantastic or mundane, is a little illustration practicing the works of mercy, which is how to live the Gospel. In this way, St. Nicholas becomes more alive, with tangible examples to help teach our children something we all must do to also become saints. As parents we can help our children find areas in our life to live out the works of mercy, using St. Nicholas’ life as an example and inspiration.

Celebration Ideas for the Feast of St. Nicholas

Updated 2012.

Advent is here. The feast of St. Nicholas on December 6 comes early in Advent, so it’s one of my first areas of concentration in preparing for the Advent season.

Activity Sources: St. Nicholas is so popular all over the world. There is just no way I could possibly touch on all the possibilities of celebrations and traditions related to this day. But I don’t really need to, because if you haven’t heard of St. Nicholas Center by now, you need to take some time to view this site. It is bursting with so much information St. Nicholas — traditions from history and around the world, stories, music, recipes, crafts, coloring pages, teaching tools, book reviews, links and even a little shop with St. Nicholas materials. If that’s not enough, or if you want ideas in smaller chunks, see:

dsc01039.jpg Decorating for St. Nicholas: Since St. Nicholas’ Day comes so early in Advent, it’s the first feast day in planning that I “tackle”. This will be one of the biggest feast days we celebrate during this season. After displaying our Advent wreath and calendar and a few touches of purple, depictions of St. Nicholas are the first decorations to appear to herald the coming of Christmas. Over the years I’ve collected a few statues and ornaments, always keeping my eyes open for depictions of the Bishop saint. My collection isn’t huge, but each one was a “find” — including the tall skinny statue found at the Dollar Store! I am sorely tempted by some of these handcrafted statues.

Images of St. Nicholas: Showing different depictions of this saint helps discussions about his life and legends and traditions of this day. St. Nicholas’ relics are held in Bari, Italy, including his skull. A few years ago BBC and Discovery had a documentary on trying to compile from the skull remains what his real image might be. See Revealed: the real Santa, a saint with a broken nose and the pictures of the Real St. Nicholas, front view and profile. And viewing the various icons is another level of discussions.

Coloring Pages: One very basic but tried and true activity with depictions of St. Nicholas is coloring pictures, and there are many from which to choose.

The Daughters of St. Paul had a wonderful activity book and video from 1993, How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus which has wonderful pictures to color, plus stories and other activities, but you can only buy these used. CCC of America’s “The Boy Who Became Santa is an excellent video that doesn’t destroy the idea of Santa but reverence St. Nicholas as a saint.

St. Nicholas Family Cookie Tradition:

I’m the oldest of seven children, and since I was very young my family has made speculaas (Dutch spice) cookies since I was very young. Together we baked the cookies before the feast, and then were left in our shoes on the eve of St. Nicholas. This tradition was the highlight of our Advent. As my siblings and I have grown and have our own families, we have all incorporated this tradition in our families. Any part of my family that lives nearby try to come together and have a cookie cutting and baking party.

The recipe we use for speculaas or speculatius (or speculoos) cookies is from Cooking for Christ version. The same recipe is repeated in in Family Advent Customs by Helen Mcloughlin and Around the Year with the Trapp Family. Most of the time we use all butter, instead of a mixture of butter and lard, but if we use lard, it is a high quality, preferably leaf lard.

Speculatius or Speculaas Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup lard (or 1 cup butter, 2 cups total)
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in one bowl and set aside. In a larger bowl (stand mixer works best), cream butter and sugar. Add small amounts of sour cream, alternating with dry ingredients until all ingredients are added and mixed well. Stir in nuts. Separate dough in smaller amounts and knead dough into rolls. Wrap rolls in wax paper and chill overnight. Roll dough very thin and cut into shapes. Bake at 375º for 10-15 minutes. These are delicious alone, but also can be decorated with colored icings and candied fruits.

We have made the recipe in the past without nuts and it is still tasty. One nice thing about this recipe is that there are no eggs, so it’s safe to snack on the dough, and it’s easier for me to try and substitute for my son’s allergy needs.

The dough must chill overnight, so make sure the dough is mixed before December 5. Growing up we didn’t have a large stand mixer, and since we doubled or tripled the recipe, we would make the dough in a large bowl by hand. The children loved to feel the different textures of the ingredients: the gritty sugar creamed with butter, the cold, wet sour cream, the soft flour mixture and the finished cookie dough. After mixing the dough, divide it into smaller balls, enough to roll out and cut for a few cookie sheets. We use wax or parchment paper to roll them up, and then place the rolls in zip top bags in the refrigerator (so it won’t pick up any odors or flavors) at least overnight. If you like spice or gingerbread, this is a delicious cookie, and keeps throughout Advent (and a welcome gift), so we always make plenty to share. If the dough gets to warm to roll, return to refrigerator to harden. You can also roll into small balls and flatten cookies if the cookie cutting enthusiasm and helpers fizzle.

On December 5th or earlier we gather together for the Nicholas Cookie making party. Every family brings their own dough, cookie cutters, baking sheets, rolling pins and aprons. We cut out cookies and bake them, and have a simple dinner. We serve simple foods, like baked ham, or chili, have some appetizers (veggies, deviled eggs). No dessert is necessary since we sneak a bite or two of the cookies. Apple cider, mulled or not, bishopswyn (mulled wine) are perfect accompaniments. I also think the new wine Beaujolais Nouveau is nice accompaniment. While we eat, cut and bake we talk about St. Nick and the traditions, and everyone has fun enjoying the family gathering.

Cookie Cutters: It hasn’t been until lately that I’ve gotten actual cutters for St. Nicholas, some from St. Nicholas Center and other from House on the Hill. We mainly use Christmas nativity cookie cutters from Cookie Craft…and each family member has gotten their own set when they have left home and married. We pretend the wiseman is the Bishop Nicholas, and sometimes we would try to cut out our own designs. We never decorated or iced the cookies. They are delicious as they are.

I actually used this cookie recipe for my wedding favors using special wedding themed molds from House on the Hill, put a cookie in cellophane bag with the recipe and explanation of St. Nicholas and the tradition in our family. All the guests enjoyed it, and I’m still hearing comments years later from families who started the tradition in their own family. For these molds, it takes a bit to work the dough and not let it stick. There are instructions on this page, but House on the Hill has another recipe and suggestions on how to make the imprint the best. We used cooking spray to coat the molds. I suggest using smaller molds, unless you plan on giving one cookie to a person, because some of the molds make a BIG cookie!

There’s a new book on Baking with Cookie Molds by Anne L. Watson, who is the wife of Aaron Shepard, the author of The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale. There is currently a 15th Anniversary Edition that includes a Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Christmas Cookies. The illustrations of the cookies in Shepard’s book are my favorite for speculaas cookies!

Gold Foil Chocolate Coins: Because of my son’s food allergies, we’ve been looking for various treats that are fail-proof to use for St. Nicholas. Gold foil-covered chocolate coins are a perfect stocking or shoe-filler because they are a reminder of the gold coins St. Nicholas gave to help a poor father provide a dowry for his three daughters. The milk chocolate coins are widely available because of the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah Gelt.

Emmanuel Books now has St. Nicholas Chocolate Coins. These contain milk and shared equipment with nuts.

Paidea Classics have a dark chocolate coin that is dairy free imprinted with an image of St. Nicholas. I have purchased these for several years.

Vermont Nut Free Chocolate also sells dairy and nut free chocolate coins. If you’re worried about nuts in the regular milk chocolate, they have that version, also.

To convert your coins to St. Nicholas coins, Jessica at A Shower of Roses shared some lovely images to use. St. Nicholas Center seems to have copied Jessica and have their version of the St. Nicholas images.

 

Music: We play Advent or Christmas music in the background. Usually this is the first day of we start playing Christmas carols. The type of music ranges from the sublime Legends of St. Nicholas by Anonymous 4 to White Christmas by Bing Crosby, especially “Jingle Bells” with the Andrews Sisters and a now hard-to-find album called Hark Ye Shepherds by the Alfred Deller Consort, which has the most terrific version of “People Look East” (listen to a sample here).

This year I might add some sing-along hymns, as suggested on 4Real Forums. Here is replacement text for “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” (piano version). From the Eastern tradition come these simple tunes, St. Nicholas and Scroll Down to “Hymn to St. Nicholas”.

I’ve had all sorts of people get a glimmer of this family tradition, such as young singles, or while I was away at college, and it opens the door to Catholic liturgical living, closer lives with the saints and family traditions.

handpuppet.jpgPuppets: The newest part of our party is a puppet show. A few years ago I requested this adorable St. Nicholas hand puppet for Christmas. It’s fabulous, or you can make a felt hand puppet. We use the puppet to tell about St. Nicholas. Puppets are a great way to teach and tell stories. Even if the little child sees the puppeteer, the child tunes the person out and zooms in on the puppet. If you can’t have a real St. Nick come to the house, this is an inexpensive substitute. We have no special puppet theater…just pull out a sofa, cover with a sheet and kneel behind it. Some other ideas for the puppet show:

I was thinking of perhaps making a Companion of St. Nicholas, like Krampus or Piet, to have more conversation. In many countries St. Nicholas has a companion, and that is the “enforcer” with straw, sticks, whips or coal for the naughty children. He is not always mean, but can help present the story of St. Nicholas.

At the end of the party, bags are made of the baked cookies and sent home. One year I found St. Nicholas statues at the Dollar store, so each guest received that as a favor. Other times we used holy cards of St. Nicholas. Once home, each family makes small bags of the cookie and “St. Nick” comes and leaves them in each person’s shoes. Sometimes St. Nicholas leaves additional candy and holycards but the cookies are always a must. This year we will have St. Nicholas chocolate coins (our choice is dark chocolate to avoid the dairy).

May St. Nicholas bless you and help you on your spiritual journey from Advent to Christmas.

Reading Suggestions for the Feast of St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas IconThe Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra is celebrated on December 6. It’s hard to piece together what is the real story of St. Nicholas and what is legend, as his stories have grown and expanded over time. What we do know is that he was born in Lycia in Asia Minor and became a bishop and died in Myra, modern-day Turkey, in 345 A.D. And during that lifespan he was a holy man, converted many people, was generous to the poor, and many miracles were performed through him, both when he was living and after his death. And because of those miracles, his patronage grew. Patron Saints Index provides a long list, but for most of us we know and love St. Nicholas because he is the patron of children, students, and the poor and known as the Christmas saint.

For me, the first stop in celebrating a beloved saint is gathering images and books about the saint. Having a few of these helps me make sure that I will be teaching my son something about St. Nicholas. It’s almost like clockwork that something happens during the Advent season that means less or no time or energy to do all my planned Advent and Christmas family traditions, new and old. But no matter how crazy life can get, I can always find time to read a book. And displaying a holycard or statue or ornament can start discussions about the saint at any time of the day.

I have several books to mention, organized by age level for comprehension, but within that category anyone older would also be pleased with the book. I have included the books from Cay Gibson’s Catholic Mosaic. For me, I can never have enough of St. Nicholas–he’s one of the biggest highlights of Advent, and his presence is felt all the way through Christmas. These books are held in a place of honor with our other Advent and Christmas books and loved throughout both liturgical seasons.

Younger Children:

The Real Story of the Christmas Legend Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegmeyer, illustrated by Chris Ellison (included in Catholic Mosaic). The illustrations show St. Nicholas resembling our modern Santa Claus. The story is short and sweet, focusing only on how the story of St. Nicholas and the dowry for the three daughters, which is the origin of why we hang out our stockings or place out our shoes on the eve of his feast.

Shepard’s The Baker’s DozenThe Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale retold by Aaron Shepard, illustrated by Wendy Edelson. Unfortunately, this book is out-of-print. Check your library to see if this title is available, as I’m not encouraging you to pay exorbitant amounts to own this book. As our family’s celebration of St. Nicholas centers on making the Dutch spice cookies, speculaas, this book with the delightful illustrations of the decorated cookies is very appealing. The illustrations are a wonderful guide to decorating a lovely design of this saintly bishop. You can also read the story here and other goodies shared by the author, including a play and pictures to print.

another-bakers-dozen.jpgDon’t be confused by this book with the same title, a Colonial Tale, by Heather Forest. It’s a nice story, but it doesn’t incorporate St. Nicholas for this feast day, just the cookies, although it is interesting to compare the books.

country-angel-christmas.jpg Country Angel Christmas by Tomie dePaola. St. Nicholas is portrayed as the rotund and jolly image of Santa Claus. Elizabeth Foss explains how she uses this book for discussions about St. Nicholas. The way dePaola incorporate the busy angels in preparing for Christmas is a little reflection of our own homes and hearts.

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Older Children:

saint-nicholas-tompert.jpgSaint Nicholas by Ann Tompert, Illustrated by Michael Garland (also included in Catholic Mosaic). This is a well-written story of St. Nicholas, with wonderful illustrations. The text isn’t too heavy for littles, but I have some hesitations if you have children with little fears. There are a few pages with scary illustrations, such as skeletons flying overhead symbolizing his parents and others dying from the plague. I don’t like to teach fear of death, but even as an adult I find the image a bit terrifying.

legend-of-saint-nicholas.jpgThe Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi (also included in Catholic Mosaic). This book has become my favorite picture book on St. Nicholas. The gilded illustrations are just gorgeous. Demi really takes the time to present the true whole, accurate picture of St. Nicholas, from birth until death, includes some legends and miracles and then introduces some customs stemming about this saint. Unlike some other picture books, it really shows Nicholas working through God’s grace in his life. The author shows Nicholas to be a holy bishop, a historical figure, a man who truly loved God, and how he showed his love by helping those on earth, both while living and then in heaven. It’s not a legend nor a feel-good Santa story, but a witness, that is both inspiring and beautiful for children.

Some stories presented in this book are legends, such as standing in the tub as a newborn, and refusing to nurse as a toddler on fast days, preferring to pray. There is one miracle where St. Nicholas restores to life three schoolboys who were cut up and brined. It is usually included in the picture books because this is why he is the patron saint of children and schoolchildren. I think the image can be scary. Demi treats it lightly, so this makes it easier to present to the younger children.

real-santa-clause.jpgThe Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas by Marianna Mayer. This is also included in Catholic Mosaic. Marianna Mayer combines classical depictions of St. Nicholas in art and provides the legends around this saint. The illustrations are wonderful. The text is lengthy and a bit wordy, definitely too much for one sitting, especially if you have some wiggly children. I recommend this being read in small chunks. But a picture IS worth a thousand words, and the younger children will enjoy looking at this lovely book.

miracle-of-st-nicholas.jpgThe Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Judith Brown is one other book recommended in Catholic Mosaic. This book gives a glimpse of the devotion to St. Nicholas and use of icons by the Russians. It’s a beautiful story of family and villagers coming together restoring their church and icon of St. Nicholas after having to live their faith in the underground.

saint-nicholas-schindler.jpg Saint Nicholas by Regine Schindler and Bro. Kenneth, illustrated by Carola Schaade is an English book (out of print) that explains Father Christmas as St. Nicholas. It’s written as if a family member, Uncle Rex, is telling the story to his nieces and nephews. Very thorough in relating information about St. Nicholas, but a bit wordy for younger ones.

gift-from-saint-nicholas.jpg the-gift-from-saint-nicholas-lachner.jpgTwo other picture books I’ll briefly mention. These illustrate Saint Nicholas as the gift giver, especially in European traditions. These are perfect books if you are trying to illustrate St. Nicholas and Santa Claus as one and the same. Both are out of print, but not hard to find used copies. A Gift from Saint Nicholas, adapted by Carole Kismaric, Illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak. This one has one of the best illustrations of Nicholas as bishop, but also as gift-giver. The second has a similar title The Gift from Saint Nicholas by Dorothea Lachner.

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Chapter Books:

st-nicholas-the-wonder-worker.jpgSt. Nicholas the Wonder Worker by Anne E. Neuberger I’ve been eyeing this book for so long that by the time I finally did buy it, it was out of print. It is divided into two parts. Part I covers the life of St. Nicholas the Bishop, and each chapter an episode from his life. Part II is the Life of Nicholas the Spirit, touching on different tales from all over the world.

The Twenty Miracles of Saint Nicholas by Bernarda Bryson is an older book, printed in 1960. I found a copy in my library and just found the book delightful. These are all the old legends, not watered down. There’s even one entitled “Saint Nicolas and the Prophet Mohammed“. Older children and adults will find this book quite interesting.

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Coffee Table and Resource Books:

real-saint-nicholas.jpgThe Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World by Louise Carus. This contains a wonderful collection of folktales from around the world, legends, recipes and stories for breads and cookies related to his feast, with wonderful glossy pages and pictures. A unique and delightful book.

st-nicholas-a-closer-look.jpgSt. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas by Joe Wheeler and Jim Rosenthal. The is a large, thick and heavy book, full of glossy pages and full color images of St. Nicholas and retells the story of Nicholas in word from his life to his influence all over the world, and his transformation over the years. This would probably be THE reference book on St. Nicholas.

Just a little addendum: This list of books is by no way complete. St. Nicholas Center has tried to include all books written on St. Nicholas, for all ages, in and out of print. Reserve a large chunk of time to check them all out.

Honoring St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra

Over the past 15 years I’ve written about St. Nicholas traditions on numerous occasions. Many of these have disappeared or have been merged into later works. I’ve decided that the next few days in preparation for the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6 I’m going to repost some of my more recent articles here. Most of them required updates of links and information. It helps me to have them in one place and up-to-date.

Reading Material for the Feast of St. Nicholas — reviews of picture books, sorted by age, and chapter and coffee table books.

Celebration Ideas for the Feast of St. Nicholas — Describes my family’s Dutch spice cookie baking party, music, activity ideas and sources, and much more.

Living the Gospel through the Example of St. Nicholas — lessons we can apply from the legends and stories about St. Nicholas to help us guide our children in the path of sanctity.