How do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day? Share your tradition with us so we can spread the word!

See how others celebrate  by scrolling down on this page.

On St. Nicholas Day, please share your celebration on our Facebook Page

Michaelynn Ryan - Seattle, WA
The kids awoke with gold chocolate coins in a bag hanging on the doorknob. We then retold the story of St. Nick doing secret good for the family who couldn’t do so for themselves. Then we pulled the kids out of school for the morning so we could shop the needs list for a women’s domestic violence shelter in town. We then delivered the gifts (simply, they took our bag to the donations’ closet, pretty anonymous) and we spent the morning visiting with the ladies and playing with the children. Wrapped it up with lunch and pictures with Santa, then it was back to school! Thanks!!!

Kelli - New Castle, Delaware
I just randomly came across your website and I want to thank you for bringing back so many great memories! I went to a Catholic school in New Castle, Delaware (Our Lady of Fatima) and we celebrated St. Nick’s day. We used to put our shoes in the hall way and at some point we’d hear bells & “ho ho ho”. We were eventually allowed to go find our shoes and see what our surprise was. I completely forgot about that time until I read your story. Mind you.. this was when I was in grade school (Kinder-garden-8th grade). I am 25 now. I babysit 2 little girls and I am going to start this tradition with them! Again, I just wanted to thank you. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

Becky, California
:) I began celebrating St. Nicholas Day in Germany when my dad was stationed in Augsburg. We used to put our wooden shoes out by the front door (we bought them in Holland) but now my children place a tennis shoe by the front door. I remember being in school in Germany and he would come in with his tall, slender body (I was always surprised because Santa in America was large:) and beautiful robe and give us treats. He would carry a sack with treats and a small thin Christmas Tree in it. He would read a Christmas story in English as most of the kids were military children. I know my mom told me once that he puts switches in the shoes of bad children. Needless to say, I must have always been good:) It is such a wonderful tradition! I put candy and a gift by my children’s, husband’s and my shoe still today and will continue until I am too old to do it:) Hopefully, my children will continue the tradition. I know when December 1st rolls around, they always ask about St. Nicholas Day. They are 14, 16, and 18:) It is now the night of the 5th and the shoes are out! :) Gotta get busy. What fun!

Shelly Evans, Omaha, NE
My sister introduced me to St. Nicks Day about 4 years ago and I loved the tradition. I looked up on the internet the story about the tradition and a picture of St. Nick and I read it to them on the night of St. Nick so they can hear and see what a wonderful person St. Nick was to those around him. The kids always run to find the biggest pair of shoes they can find out of their closets and place them in front of the fireplace. In the morning when they wake up they find nuts, candy canes and a movie. It usually is a new release that is a Christmas movie. This year they are getting Arthur Christmas and Brave. I always give them candy canes and then they place them on their kids Christmas tree as decoration. They love adding them to the tree each year. The nuts we gather and place in the nut cracker bowl for all the family to enjoy. This is a wonderful holiday tradition!

Shelly Brumley, Lake St. Louis, MO
This is something I had never even heard of as a kid. We chose to send our girls to our parish’s Catholic school and that is where they heard of it. Our gifts always vary, but I like to try and do an ornament each year. That way when they leave home, they already have a start for decorations on their own tree.

Sara McGee - Butler, PA
I just ordered the bags – love that idea! And while I won’t have them for this year (obviously), we want to start this kind of tradition with our children. We’re not big into the Santa idea yet (our kids are only 4 and 2 and are actually afraid of him), so we don’t set out any wish lists. But we do plan on giving an ornament each year, along with new pajamas and perhaps a small candy or something. Thank you for spreading the joy and fun of St. Nicholas.

Patrick Frase, Bakersfield, CA
Originally from Green Bay, WI. Now in California celebrating St. Nicks Day 3rd year in a row. Love St. Nick, The Pickle and Kringle!

Bob E. from Louisville, KY
Our family is German and I was always told that from there this tradition comes. Every Dec. 6 I awoke to a stocking of candy, nuts, some fruit, as well as a small toy. (usually a Hot Wheel, or an action figure) Also the day before Xmas the pickle would “magically” be on the tree, with a special gift for who ever found the pickle. I never knew that the tradition was true, I thought it was just an odd myth of my family. I still carry on the tradition, although finding the pickle is more challenging now that I have a glass pickle ornament so you can’t find it by smell. Thanks St. Nick

Sarah, - Illinois
I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone’s traditions on your web site and had to share mine:

While I used to celebrate St. Nicholas day as a child both at home and my Catholic grade school, my husband did not, so we did not celebrate it with our kids. When my youngest of 4 boys was 5 years old, he came down from his bed that December 5th night with a pair of shoes and said, “Maybe St. Nick doesn’t stop because there aren’t any shoes out”. Needless to say, St. Nick scrambled and somehow was able to come up with gold chocolate coins and a new book for each of the boys and continues to stop each year. And now that he is 10 years old, we hope we have a few more years of the magic of St. Nick left!

Carol Walters, - Provo, Utah
We wanted to establish a tradition of giving each of our children’s families a Christmas book and a CD of Christmas music each year. Since the Christmas celebration seems to start the day after Halloween here, and to end on Christmas night, they wouldn’t have much time to enjoy Christmas things received on Christmas Day. So we hit upon the idea of sending them a package to be opened on St. Nicholas Day so they could enjoy their new story and music during the time leading up to Christmas Day.

Lori Colyer - Sorabji - Zeigler, IL
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. Zeigler, IL a community that was predominantly people of European descent but mostly Southern European not Northern. Most kids hadn’t heard of St. Nicholas Day, and didn’t understand why I got special visits and they didn’t , but it was a tradition my Great Grandparents carried with them when they left England and passed it down to now 3 generations. Every year as a kid my parents would remind me to place my shoes outside on the front porch for St. Nick to fill with treats and sure enough the next morning I would find those gold foiled wrapped chocolate coins. For years I did that with my own kids, until they outgrew it (when your kids outgrown Santa it’s heartbreaking!) But when I have grandchildren even if St Nick has to express mail his treats the tradition will go on to the next generation.

Carrie - Omaha, Nebraska/Colorado
I grew up mostly in Omaha, Nebraska. My mother always celebrated Saint Nicholas day for myself and my 6 younger siblings when we were growing up.At first I thought it came from her Mother (my maternal grandmother) being German. However, at the catholic school I attended from Kindergarten until 3rd grade I remember them having us place our shoes in the hallway one year and receiving a mini candy cane in one of our shoes. I was living in Iowa when my 2 children were born and have carried on the saint Nicholas day tradition with them there and now also in Colorado where we currently live. My tradition of what my two children receive from Saint Nicholas each year depends on how much money and time I have to plan or what I may have purchased previously and hidden away that I can surprise them with. It has included at times a variety of: fruit, nuts, candy and small toys.

Michelle -Downers Grove, Illinois
I thought everyone celebrated St. Nick! My family has been celebrating St. Nick since I was a little kid. I am 35 now and continue to celebrate. I even have my same stocking from when I was a little girl. My daughter looks forward to St. Nicholas Day and laughs every year when she sees that St. Nick left her dad some coal in his stocking.

Kristen Wass - St. Paul, MN
Growing up in Saint Paul, MN, everyone I knew put out a shoe on December 5th with their christmas list in it, hoping saint nick would come and take their lists to Santa Claus. I Thought for much of my life that this was a common tradition. Now in Southern Minnesota and with 2 children of my own, I went to work this morning and asked the other parents that I work with what Saint Nick bought their kids. I received all blank stares. No one had ever heard of Saint Nick Day. I explained wat it was, and everyone thought it was so cute of an idea that the have decided to begin the tradition here too!

My mother’s relatives came from Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, to America in the late 1800s landed in Pennsylvania, then on to Fulda, Indiana. There they settled for a bit and that is where my Great-Grandma was born. They then decided to shift over to Kentucky and landed in Owensboro, Kentucky. This tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas Day was handed down through many generations and still goes on to this very day. The way we celebrate is to have stockings hanging on a mantel or stairs or on a wall if nothing else, and then shoes are placed below them. Everybody went to bed and then next day there would be candy canes, apples, oranges, homemade cookies, homemade taffy candy, and 3 little toys in each stocking. Everybody would check their shoes. If you were good then nothing in em, if you were thought to have been sort of naughty then you would have a lump of coal in one of your shoes and that was a warning to behave from then on so you could have a good Christmas, and a good new year. The coal came from one of the black Petes. The trinkets, etc that go in the stockings change here and there but the tradition doesn’t. On this same day is when the Christmas tree would go up and be decorated. My Great-Grandma had such beautiful ornaments some of em over 100 years old that her mom had inherited and then she was given some for her tree after she wed. From those she of course accumulated her own sets. These ornaments were precious. Glass most of them :D and so very ornamental! It’s been a while since I heard of the special tree pickle. I might add that old German tradition too. The other thing I remember is the wonderful smells of gingerbread and her famous homemade German Apple Pies, and other wonderful yummy foods. People need to keep these old traditions as well as make their own new ones and pass that down to new generations.

My Dad’s side of the family were farmers and their St. Nicholas tradition was to come in from the fields early, gather around grandma and grandpa with all of us kids, and grandad would give us kids each a silver dollar, plus some candies,It seems that is fitting as St. Nicholas is said to have tossed some coins in to some women who’s dad was poor and couldn’t afford dowries for his daughters to wed with. So I have added something to keep that idea in mind by buying a little bag of gold coins that are chocolates. Hope you can add this in with my original script. we’d give grandma a big hug and kisses, and then everybody would say grace and we’d sit down to a good home cooked meal with their famous smoked ham and sausage they’d made themselves, grandma’s homemade sour kraut was good with that, And she made pies too, her favorite was cherry pies, peach cobbler, and apple dumplings.

I celebrate much like they all did on both sides by combining it all :)


A gal in Kentucky

Anne - Oklahoma
Growing up, my family celebrated St. Nick’s day by hanging stockings and putting shoes out underneath on the floor on the evening of Dec. 5. St. Nick brought fruit, nuts, and a small gift or ornament. We also went to a Catholic school and we put our shoes out in the hall if Dec 6 fell on a school day and would get a candy cane or peppermint. My mom is half German. Now I have 4 kids of my own and I continue the tradition with them. They hang stockings on the fireplace and put their shoes under their stocking. We even have a stocking for our cats. The kids get nuts, candy, cookies, an ornament, and small gifts like stationary, DVDs or music CD, and the shoes are filled with new socks and a candy cane. Using a sharpie, we put their name and the year on the ornaments so they have one for each year when they grow up and move out. I grew up in Cleveland Ohio, but have brought the tradition with us to Oklahoma. We haven’t found anyone else here in Oklahoma that celebrates this tradition, so it was nice to read about what others have shared on this site. Thanks,


Amy from Wauwatosa Wisconsin

My husband and I are from Wisconsin and both our families celebrated St. Nicks. My husband always got little paper back books and comics in his stocking. In my family, we used to pick a sock from our dresser and hang it out of the top drawer. We would always try to pick the longest sock hoping we’d get more stuff!

Nan Grube
We’ve celebrated St. Nick’s day since I was married. I put a few chocolates in my spouses shoes-boy was he surprised the first St. Nick’s morning. Once we had children, we each got a new pair of matching Christmas pajamas and a chocolate or two. Now, it’s just me and the kids-we still get the matching pajama’s for the Christmas season…and an extra trinket or bauble since the pajama’s are really to bring a smile to my heart. The teen years are tough but I’m hopeful that my kids will look back on the tradition with gratitude and warmth.

Happy St. Nick’s day!

C. Greg McPherson- Indianapolis, Indiana
We have been celebrating St Nicholas Day for over 18 years. We started it as a tradition to memorialize the children’s grandmother, De, that passed away in 1991. We have seen that the kids get a commemorative ornament from their grandmother and a candy item each year. Once they moved away , they had a collection of ornaments to start their tree with.

My own mother, Garnett, passed away in 2004, and we have added a second ornament to the gift, as well as a pair (Santa and Mrs., Snowman couple, etc.) ornament for the Grandchildren as a Papaw and Nana gift from us.

This is a tradition my wife began, and we have continued it all these years. As I am typing this now, we are moments from opening their gift bags.

Have a happy and joyous holiday.

Kari Mackowski -Des Plaines, Illinois
My family lives in Illinois and I just recently learned of St. Nicholas Day. My husband’s family is from Poland, and it has been a tradition for his family since his parents childhood. We are a blended family with 6 children. I am of German decent, and my grandmother has always hung a pickle in our trees to find Christmas morning. 2011 will be our first year incorporating both traditions. Our children all made their own stockings for St. Nick and they put their Christmas lists inside for him to take when leaving goodies for them. We are all looking forward to St. Nick’s visit tomorrow night :)

Carlson Family - Russia/USA
We became acquainted with St. Nicholas Day while living in Novosibirsk, Russia and working with a Dutch couple. Over our five Christmases together, we exchanged many cultural traditions, including Russia’s and our own. Having adopted two children in Russia before returning to the US, we decided to keep up the holiday for several reasons:

It was part of our Russia experience

St. Nicholas is the patron Saint of children and of Russia, so it made sense to keep him a part of our Russian children’s lives

It gave us a way to continue to use the little felt boots the kids wore out of Russia

It gave Mom an opportunity to give Christmas clothes that could be worn for Christmas

It gave a platform to teach about the real St. Nick

The kids left their boots outside their bedroom door. Now that they are in separate rooms, they’re left at the top of the stairs – easier to get to for St. Nick and Black Pete (AKA Mom and Dad). A candy cane is mandatory, along with a bag of chocolate coins. The clothes of yesteryear are replaced with a gift card, iTunes preferably, and some other small item or two, particularly anything that might be needed for a December concert, or other event. Usually another nutcracker figure to add to our son’s collection.

A funny story about St. Nicholas Day. Our son, at 2 or 3, wasn’t sure he wanted some strange man to come into our house, up the stairs, to right outside the door to the bedroom he shared with his sister (3 or 4), even if he was going to leave gifts. I offered to lie in bed with him as protection. I’m sure I fell asleep next to his tiny body, ramrod stiff with fright, long before he did! After getting all those wonderful gifts, Matthew concluded St. Nick must be a pretty nice guy, so I thought our troubles were over. Nope. Same story the next December, only Matthew wasn’t going to leave the protecting to sleepy Mom. He rigged up a child-safe St. Nick trap. He put up a spring-tension shower curtain rod in the doorway, above his head, but low enough to catch St. Nick in the belly. No one was coming in without a fight, or at least a lot of noise!!

Happy St. Nicholas Day, and Merry Christmas!

Vickie, for the Carlson Family

Andrea Sevinsky - Massachusetts
Hi, my name is Andrea Pallotta Sevinsky and I am from Massachusetts. I grew up in Watertown, MA across the street from my best friend Elisabeth Haase, a second generation full German. She would put her shoes out for St. Nicholas Day every year and she got presents in the morning. I tried to convince my French mother and Italian father that we should do that too, but never seemed to get anywhere. When I had my own kids, Elisabeth would come to my house to bake cookies. She would always come to be there for St Nicholas Day. The kids would put their shoes out with a letter to St Nicholas (Santa) and Elisabeth would fill them with treats for the morning. My oldest is now 13 and all three have grown used to the tradition. Elisabeth accepted a new job on Minnesota this year and this will be our first year without her on St Nicholas Day. I know the kids will be putting out their shoes and they will be filled by morning!! And that’s how three Italian, French and Polish children celebrate this fun German custom!!!

Liz Donovan - St. Louis, MO
I married into a second generation American born German family and they were the ones that first introduced me to St. Nick’s day. My family side is of Irish decent so this was all new to me. The best part was hearing my mother in-law and all of her brothers talking about the different things they got and how they passed the tradition on to their children.

I also found it very entertaining that you put a pickle ornament on the tree. I can’t wait to pass these on to my children on top of the traditions that I grew up with. It really shows that Christmas is much more than presents and shopping.

Camille - Cincinnati, Ohio
I can’t believe no one has written from Cincinnati yet. The city has a very German background, and tons of Catholic schools, and everyone I knew growing up celebrated St. Nick’s Day. We put our shoes by the back door the night before, and in the morning they were filled with fruit, candy, and small toys. I continued celebrating as I got older, sneaking in the night to fill my roomates’ shoes and acting surprised in the morning. Some of them had never heard of the holiday if they weren’t from Cincinnati, and it was fun to surprise them every year. This year my daughter will only be 6 weeks old on St. Nick’s Day, but I’ll probably fill her tiny shoes anyway because I can’t help it!

Sharon Macarle, Phoenix, AZ
We are from Hungarian descent and my mother had many stories of when she lived in Hungary in a convent with the nuns. One of my favorites was of St. Nick, which in our home always fell on Dec. 7th. We would put our shoe out on the front porch and my mother would tell us we would find candy and fruit in our shoes if we were good and there would be coal if we were bad. It was an indication of what we would find under the tree on Christmas morning.

Many years later when my mom was 85 she lived in a retirement home. On Dec. 7th I snuck into her apt. while she was playing cards with her lady friends in the recreation room. I took one of her shoes from her closet and filled it with all of her favorite treats. I left it by her front door to find when she came back from playing cards. It really was a magical moment for her and she was surprised beyond belief!

Cole Koeppen, Maryland
St. Nick always came to visit our house in Wisconsin. In preparation for Christmas, everyone had their own stocking to hang over the fireplace. St. Nick would bring small treats, games and necessities. My mom used the holiday as psychological leverage to assure good behavior most of the month! Eager for Christmas, St. Nick’s was an appetizer of things to come.

My wife and I moved to Maryland in 1999 and my neighbor was from Russia. One season I glanced over at their house an noted a row of black boots set out on the back porch on the eve of St. Nick.

My wife and I still share the tradition though we do not have children, our Schnauzer sure likes getting treats too – assuming he’s been good!

Kelly Kowalski, Texas
i am from texas, but my family is originally from poland. we have always celebrated st. nicks day since before i can remember, my mom had a problem remembering what day it was supposed to be, so we always did it on diffedent days. what wd would do was get stockings from a store then decorate them with our names and hang them on the wall next to the tree, when we woke up the morning of our stockings would be overflowing with candy and ws always had at least three toys in it. i am a mother now, and i plan to keep the tradition going with my son. i know he will love it as much as i did growing up. im glad i found your site, i have been wondering what day st. nicks day was. now i can celebrate it with my son and husband, who is new to the tradition.

Edna Sommars
When we were children at home, many years ago, we always had an apple, & orange for St. Nicks’. We were happy with that. When I ws teaching, I always put a candy cane on my students’ desks. Now that my own children (5), are grown,and have grandchildren, I always send each a $5.00 bill on St. Nick’s Day, Dec. 6. They look forward to it even if they are grown, it’s a tradition they will never stop.

Appleton, Wisconsin
Being of German ancestry, St. Nick’s day was a big deal. Hanging stocking the night before. Hoping for some chocolate candies, popcorn balls, oranges ,apples, bananas and a small toy or book. Wisconsin has a lot of Dutch and German ancestry. This tradition is not just Catholic but is also celebrated by many Lutheran families too in this part of North Eastern Wisconsin, except for the Wisconsin Synod Lutherans. Read about St, Nicholas of Antioch (Bishop and Martyr)

Have some fun with the tradition.

Dan Haas - TEXAS
As I Wisconsin born, German thru heritage mom, I found your site to be quite a fun find. I would like to enlighten you about the popularity of St. Nick in Texas. I recently moved to El Paso, TX from the midwest and found it home to Fort Bliss, one of the country’s largest Army bases and a training facility of the German Airforce. There is a very large German population here and I cannot wait to go their christkindlmarkt at the base tomorrow. Just thought you might want to know why all of the cowboys are lining up their cowboy boots on the eve of the 5th.

Michele Mann - Alabama
When I was little in Wisconsin, we always celebrated St. Nicks. I remember my mom filling our stockings with goodies instead of our shoes. My grandma changed it to stockings when she immigrated to the US from Belgium. When I was old enough to know about St. Nick, my grandma would tell me the story of how she was picked to be one of the helpers in her town to go around and fill the children’s shoes. When she told me how she was chosen, she had a big smile on her face. I still carry out the tradition of St. Nicks in Alabama with my son. My husband and I also did it with our foster children when we did foster care. When my son is old enough to know, I will pass on the story to him. Thank you for having this site. It is a great way for people to tell their memories.

Terri - Pittsburgh, PA

I have live in Pittsburgh, PA all my life and as long as I can remember we have done St. Nick and I have since passed it on to my in-laws families on both sides, and some friends. I went to a catholic school and remember them briefly discussing it there, but sad to say none of that carried over with our St. Nick traditions. My parents did include fruit and candy and a little gift, but for us this was never reinforced why that was, but it was the night that the kids put their lists in their stockings for St. Nick (Santa’s helper) to come pick up to give Santa some ideas of what to bring Christmas morning. And in turn he would leave behind a little gift if you were good to let you know that it was him that took the list. In my house instead of candy and small trinkets we just give a pair of warm winter jammies. This is only because the kids are small and each year they need new winter jammies because they have outgrown them from the previous year, and they are winter themed so it was perfect timing for them to be new for the holidays. So I have started the tradition of buying for the nieces and nephews too so when they come over x-mas morning they can all wear them together.

Terri- Pittsburgh, PA

Louisville, KY
I’m from Louisville, KY and grew up Catholic and went to Catholic schools. My family didn’t celebrate St. Nick’s day, but we always did at school. On the morning of St. Nick’s day, the principal came on the intercom and instructed everyone to place one shoe outside the classroom door. A little bit later, we retrieved our shoes which were filled with candy! I have a toddler, and I plan on continuing this tradition with her.

Born in Cleveland Ohio, of course Catholic. I’m the last of 10 children, I’m 36 now, my oldest sister is 56, my parents are 78,79. and I have a 4 year old little girl, and will continue this tradition, that we had when i was young. I remember being SO, happy the next morning getting my litttle treat!!! I’m not sure where the tradition started, or era, (Great Depression) but we are of hungarian/sovakian decent, well part Italian also.. anyhow, love the site..

Born in Cleveland Ohio, of course Catholic.

Jeff Chester
I was wondering how I can get a book about how we can find about it

thanks Becky Mikels WE SUGGEST our friends at:

St. Nick in TEXAS! I am of Polish, Catholic decent and my family has always celebrated St. Nick’s Day. My parents both grew up on family farms and did not have much money. When they were children they would hang their socks in the house and would find fruit and candy in them in the morning. When I was a child we would hang our stockings and have fruit, candy and an ornament on Dec 6th. I have continued the tradition with my family. My children hang their stockings and find candy, an ornament and some small trinket or toy. I kept the ornament tradition that my mother started. When my children leave home they will take their ornaments with them hopefully remember all the wonderful memories we shared.

Many of our Polish, Catholic friends (and all of our family) celebrate St. Nick in TEXAS!

Carol - Floresville, TX

St. Nick’s Celebration in Ohio

Our family has celebrated St.Nick’s Day since I was a little girl. We celebrated with our children and now our grandson. In our house St. Nick brings your ornament for the tree and a Christmas book. I find a book that depicts the interest of our child at the time and then write a note to them in the front. The note usually tells of how proud I am of an accomplishment, what I wish for them for the coming year or a hope for them to accomplish in the coming year. When our daughter’s reached the teenage years and I wanted them to remember that gossip hurts others I got them “Mr. Peabody’s Apples” a book about how hurtful gossip can be, the note inside reminded them how proud I am when they are kind to others. Now they have 18 - 20 books apiece with a chronicle of the times of their lives. This year our Grandson gets a board book about the Christmas Story and a talking pickle for the tree, let the fun begin!

karli sturgill

I am the Dutch person in my family. Once, on St Nick day, my children while visiting my parent’s home, had the delightful privilege of meeting St. Nick and Black Pieter. Since that day, here in AK, we’ve been putting out our shoes the eve of Dec. 5th, and in the morning they have been filled with small gifts, fruit, and chocolate made out of their initials (when I can find them). It’s a great way to begin the holiday season, and on Christmas Day, focusing more on the true meaning of Christmas.

Now that most of my children are married, we’ve begun a new tradition of writing a poem to each other, and sharing them on Dec. 6h. Hopefully the tradition of putting out one’s shoes will continue, where ever my children and grandchildren live.

McDonald’s in AK

We have always celebrated St. Nick! I have a German heritage. We had felt stockings with our names on them that my Grandma made. We hung them out Dec 5th and in the morning we had an orange, banana, candy and a small trinket. My husband had never heard of it before meeting me. We continued the tradition in our home and I hope my adult children will continue it as well!

Susan Marchbanks

When I checked all the posted traditions, I saw every single one of them involved children. I am originally from the Netherlands and although St Nicolas is primarily meant for kids, we also celebrated Sinterklaas with friends and family if there were no kids around. We would buy small presents for each other and stick little poems on them. The receiver of the present would have to read the poem out loud. This is of course a perfect opportunity to remind everybody in the room of embarrassing, hilarious or joyful moments this person went through that year.

Bram, Iowa City, Iowa
When I was growing up, we celebrated St Nickolas. I believe that it came from my mother’s side of the family, because they came from Germany and were Catholic as well (which I know now to be one of the origins of the holiday). It was always the day after my mother’s birthday (December 5th was her birthday, so December 6th). We would wake up to find nuts and fruits in our stockings. I loved those treats, my favorite were the mixed nuts, still in their shells, and getting to crack them and eat them. I am really not sure when my family stopped celebrating it and honestly I totally forgot about it until about 5 or 6 years ago. One of my friends mentioned how he was going to start that tradition with his kids. Since then, I decided to do the same. My kids were 10 and 8 when I started it again, but I talked to them about the tradition and that actually this tradition was older than the tradition of Santa Claus. We do celebrate Christmas, but that to me is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Thanks for letting me share 

Laura, Cincinnati

We live in Switzerland … but my kids are German and we have always celebrated st nicks day. My daughter is in Boston now at university and I want to make sure that she gets her st nicks package from you on the 6th (Monday) On what day do I need to order to ensure it arrives on time? Teri - Switzerland

In my family we always put our shoes out on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with ( usually fruit or candies). I really never understood why we did this and neither did my Mother or Grandmother it was just something we always did. After some research I learned about St. Nick and I have decided that from now on we will have St Nick’s day and have a small celebration on December 6th. I really wish I could get more people involved and celebrate St. Nick and/or Santa on the 6th so that December 25th is exclusively for celebration of Christs’ birth! I will definitely spread the word.

Amber, Alabama
I’ve celebrated St Nick’s day my entire life and am introducing my husband and in-laws to it this year. I stumbled on this site while looking for information to give them. On the 6th of December we start our Christmas holiday by taking a moment to remember what the season really is about. We share Christmas stories and decorate the tree and house. Mom and dad always got us a bowl of fresh fruit and nuts for the table and we exchange a small gift for each member of the family. When my brother and I got older, we would invite friends over to share with us so most of my friends have been exposed to it at some point in time. St Nick’s is a tradition I can’t wait to share with my children and plan to continue for years to come even though most people here haven’t heard about it.

Sami, a lonely South Dakota St Nick-er

In my family we always put our shoes out on Christmas Eve for Santa to fill with ( usually fruit or candies). I really never understood why we did this and neither did my Mother or Grandmother it was just something we always did. After some research I learned about St. Nick, and I have decided that from now on we will have St Nick’s day and have a small celebration on December 6th. I really wish I could get more people involved and celebrate St. Nick and/or Santa on the 6th so that December 25th is exclusively for celebration of Christ’s’ birth! I will definitely spread the word.

Amber, Alabama

I grew up with St. Nick and now I celebrate it with my son. I took German in middle and high school and learned more about the very old tradition and felt very special that I celebrated something many other children did not. Our stockings are usually filled with candy, nuts, small toys or fancy coffees and chocolates for the adults - on the rare occasion when such extravagant things aren’t warranted, we often stuff stockings with much needed things like new underwear, mittens or a new hat.

Chrystal in Slinger, WI

I have never heard of St. Nick Day until my newly married daughter called me and told me of the small gifts she received from her in-laws. This is not a tradition anyone I know has ever celebrated. Not to be a Scrooge, but it seems to me just another way to put money in the retailer’s pockets. Our big day is Christmas. I wish everyone one a Merry Christmas.


I wanted to thank you for sending my order so quickly. I recalled the bags today! And was very pleased. You can bet I will continue to spread the word. Thanks again!

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

My mother is 88 years old and now in a nursing home recalling only my father, but her stories of St. Nicholas Day in her house are among the few that she’d recall annually. They had little else, but she always knew she’d find an orange in the toe of her stocking every December 6 morning.

I fondly recall St. Nicholas Days of my youth when I pull out the holiday decorations each year. Many of the little gifts I found in my stocking became keep sakes with which I now decorate - a little angle tree topper, an ornament that had been full of bubble bath, and little glass bottles in shapes of gifts, Santa, and snowmen.

Each of the years when she remembered him and still did some shopping on her own, my mother bought my son the biggest, fluffiest stocking she could find him. I hang fancy stockings from the mantel that match my decor, but those fluffy stockings are prominently hung each year, too. St. Nicholas puts a toothbrush with the candy in those stockings hung from the mantel; I get a small nut cracker to add to my collection and my son a train car to add to his. Those other stockings, though, those other stockings still bring the biggest smiles. Each holds a little gift - a NASCAR collectible, a new key chain, a magic trick, a deck of cards - the things that would get tossed aside for the “big stuff” under the tree on Christmas morning are so special on St. Nicholas Day. They remind us of the stories.

My son is a teenager now. He knows I fill the stockings. He knows why I fill the stockings. He’ll fill stockings for his kids, too.

I have trouble every year recalling the day that is St. Nicholas Day. I pick a different site to read each year I go to the Internet to check. Thank you for your site and your bags.

Louisville, Kentucky

I am from Eagle River, Wi and I believe my Mom started the the tradition in our family. She is originally from Chicago. When we were children she always put out all the X-mas decorations before the night of Dec 5. When we woke up we would run to check out our stocking by the fireplace. There would be mostly chocolate & candy canes with some small gifts such as socks, lip gloss, small candles, and occasionally a small game for the four of us to share. Now that I am moved out of the house I celebrate it with my boy friend and my Mom still will celebrate it with us. I live in Az now and will keep the tradition going. I can’t wait till I have nieces and nephews to share the tradition with. Of course when we have children of our own we will definitely celebrate it. Jennifer Klein Tucson, Az (Previously from Eagle River, Wi)

Hi! I happened across your site and upon reading your home page description, felt a little left out, as St. Nick’s Day is fairly common in the St. Louis area. I even double checked this on Wikipedia:

Celebration in the United States:

While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick’s Day on a scale similar to the German custom.4 On the previous night, children put one empty shoe (or sock) outside, and, on the following morning of December 6, the children awake to find that St. Nick has filled their previously empty footwear with candy and small presents (if the children have been “good”) or coal (if not). For these children, the relationship between St. Nick and Santa Claus is not clearly defined, although St. Nick is usually explained to be a helper of Santa. The tradition of St. Nick’s Day is firmly established in the Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland and St. Louis communities, with parents often continuing to observe the day with even their adult children. Widespread adoption of observing the tradition has spread throughout the German, Polish, Belgian and Dutch communities throughout Wisconsin, and is carried out through modern times.

At least half the kids I grew up with in my classes celebrated the tradition. My family did not, but in elementary school I felt left out, so when I moved out, I started the tradition with my boyfriend. That was 6 years ago. We now have a beautiful baby girl and will be sure to carry on the tradition. =) Your bags are a very cool idea, although I feel like the shoe thing is like a Christmas tree- it wouldn’t be complete without it. (I usually don’t put candy in the shoes and any food items are placed next to the shoes.)

Thanks! Becky =) -St. Louis area. I was born and raised here in the U.S., and I had never heard of St. Nick’s Day until last week. I don’t know how this happened, but I looked into it and it was such a blessing to learn about a custom that has been in affect overseas for so many years. I am engaged to a Romanian lady and she told me about it, and was shocked that I had never heard of it. So we are starting the tradition in our own home. (although she doesn’t know it yet.) She will be here in the States for Christmas this year, and I will have her bag on the doorknob, filled with goodies when she awakes on the morning of the 6th. She arrives on the 5th, so it will have special meaning for her when she feels her tradition in her new home in the States. Thank You for providing so much information on this tradition and I will pass it on to all of my friends.

Dan T. - Arkansas
As a little kid growing up in Wisconsin, my Polish family always celebrated St. Nicholas Day. I think each generation it gets altered a bit… as a child, we left our shoes outside our door at bedtime, and we each got a package of new socks with some little candy. Now with my children (who are quite young yet at 1 and 3 yrs old), they each receive a new Christmas book outside their door on St. Nicholas morning.

Jessica - Peoria, IL
This is a great idea. I come from a German family and have been celebrating St. Nick day for years. ( I am now 36) . I have three boys (11, 8 & 4) and have started the tradition with them. When my oldest began Catholic school and started doing reports on saints…. his first one was on Saint Nick because of our tradition. Only we don’t do candy in our house and the tradition became that St. Nick left the Christmas PJ’s you would wear to bed for Christmas Day. The kids look forward to what St Nick finds for them and gives them something else to look forward to on Christmas Eve.

Most people think we are nuts for a holiday they aren’t sure of yet. The more awareness the better the holiday. Thanks for creating something so fun.

Mindy - NJ
Dear Sirs; I wanted to thank you for the fast service. I received my St. Nicks bag today. It will be a very nice gift. I hope you will be able to add Arkansas to your list of states as the knowledge grows about St. Nick’s Day. I have been telling all of my friends about it.

Happy Holidays to You and Yours’:

Hatchie Mann - Arkansas

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin but grew up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. My Mother used to give my sister and I a stocking filled with candy, fruit and nuts every year on St. Nick’s Day. She told us if we got coal we still had time to get our acts together for a good Christmas, but we never got coal:-). She continued to send us St. Nick’s Day stockings into our adult life until she passed away. I had my first baby in January of 2009 and look forward to giving him his first stocking and keeping the tradition alive in our family!

Mike Krueger -Redding, California
Because I’m a pastor, I’ve always been extremely busy @ Christmastime with church activities. I felt like my children were missing out on a Family Holiday. I was also concerned that Santa was eclipsing Jesus on the feast of Christ’s birth. We began celebrating St. Nick’s Day when the kids were young, as one way to give them special family time. It also helped to have Santa come on the 6th, and have the 25th be for Jesus.

Andrew– Vancouver, WA
My grandmother was from Austria, and raised my father with St Nick’s Day, when we were growing up we also celebrated it, When we woke up, we’d run to our stockings and find nuts, fruits, chocolates and socks and gloves…if we were really good we’d get a piece of jewelry also. This year is my daughter’s first St Nick’s Day and we will be getting her a Christmas ornament and a spoon, she’s too young for candy and fruit :)

LaCrisha from Meridian, Mississippi
I love this tradition. It holds so much magic for children and my own mother did it for us growing up on suburban Chicago growing up. I continued this tradition and now my 3 children celebrate it as well. They get very excited and are usually rewarded with a small amt of candy and perhaps a book for the older one or some stickers, a small puzzle or something like that. One thing I always put there is a new Christmas story to read to my kids. I actually do have my kids put their shoes outside as well (always a pair they are not wearing the next day.).

I was surprised when people I talked to had not heard of this tradition. They probably thought “she’s crazy about Christmas ” which I am. I am the Mom at 1 am on Christmas who drags out the jingle bells and runs around on the front lawn so it sounds like Santa’s sleigh. Hey, my dad did it for me and the one time my son said to me ” hey mom I thought I heard Santa’s sleigh bells ” was all I needed to hear. There isn’t much magic left in this world about things, Christmas is about believing in something you can’t see but FEEL in your heart.

Kristen (from St. Louis)
Since I was 5 years old I have lived in Wisconsin. I grew up in Sheboygan WI and grew up with the tradition and I am carrying it on with my children. We only do a little for this day but enough to keep the tradition. I listened to people and so many do not understand why or anything about the tradition. Thank you for the explanation as I am able to explain everything to my daughters and hope that they will continue the tradition as they grow and have children.

Dawn - Green Bay WI.
As a kid, I grew up with the St. Nick’s Day tradition. Instead of using our shoes though, we would find St. Nick left us a small gift at our place at the dining room table. It would be anything from candy to an inexpensive movie. Just something small to let us know we have been good and to look forward to the presents from Santa. Now that I am grown, though I do not have kids of my own yet, I have continued the tradition each year with my husband and usually my dog. Just to get my husband ready for those family traditions when we have kids. It is a great tradition and most that I have spoke to have no idea what it is. I guess my family had the tradition because my mom lived in Wisconsin for some time and our family tree goes back to Germany on several sides of the family.

Becky Knepp
I grew up on a farm in NE Iowa in a large Catholic family (11 children). We were German/French descendants. Instead of stockings or shoes we set out bread loaf pans all in a row with our name on a slip of paper inside. We didn’t have much back then and this was a special treat for us. We were given fruits and nuts, a little candy and small gifts like pencils, pens, coloring books or crayons.

When I married and moved to central Iowa, I started the tradition with my husband and children. We have 6 kids and now 4 grandchildren. We wait until early evening on the 6th and St. Nick will knock on the door and leave a box on the porch with everything inside. We did this as we have a child with a birthday on the 5th and didn’t want to take away from that. Thru the years we expanded the tradition to include friends with small children. I would print out a story of St. Nick and have it in the box to explain what the box of fruit, nuts, and small gifts were for. Then my husband would set it by their front door, knock and run. This was so much fun for us to surprise them and have them wondering where it came from. We still hold the tradition and my children are passing it on to their children now.

Brendafrom Iowa
I grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We are of German & Norwegian descent. We have ten kids in our family and St. Nick’s day was always celebrated! We loved it. We would set our shoes out at night and in the morning they would be filled with candy. It meant the start of the Holiday season and we always looked forward to it.

Helen -Oshkosh, WI
I grew up in Des Plaines, IL. I have always celebrated St Nicholas Day. We used to put our boots outside. Once my Mother collected a complete Christmas plate set she started setting the formal dining table with that set on Dec 5th, the formal table remained set throughout the entire holiday season. On the morning of the 6th we would find a couple of the Christmas cookies that we made including the Specula’s, one orange, nuts in their shells and a few pieces of holiday hard candy. Each of us had our own place at the table and that is where our plate was set. After a few years my Mother started giving us Christmas ornaments instead of candies so that when we left the family home we would have ornaments for our very first tree. Each of us 4 children continue the tradition, I do not have children so I share it with coworkers and friends as well as my family, nieces and nephews. My Mother said when she grew up, Dec 6th is when they shared presents and had the huge meal, much like our Thanksgiving and on Dec 25th they went to church and enjoyed a small meal.

Marina- Arizona
Glad to find your site and someone spreading the tradition of remembering St. Nicholas. We are a Catholic family and our previous pastor was a big fan of St. Nicholas. Every year on the Sunday before Dec 6, he would remind the children of the parish to put out their shoes (and their parent to fill them!!) and hand out candy canes.

As a result, we started following this tradition in our own home. To make it different from Christmas, we use St. Nicholas day as a tool to learn about the saints. Every year the kids receive candy canes and gold foil wrapped chocolate coins in memory of the gifts of dowries that Bishop Nicholas gave to the 3 sisters.

We also use it as a kind of “kick off” to advent - the children have received prayer books, nativity sets, and saint biographies in the past. Some years they receive craft supplies to use to make Christmas gifts - like ornaments or candy treats.

St Nicholas gifts aren’t meant to compete with Christmas, they are just another small pleasure of the season and a way to add spirituality to the season!

This year St Nicholas day is even more special to us as our newest child was born on Thanksgiving day and was baptized after mass on St Nicholas day. Now we have even more reason to celebrate in years to come!

Happy St Nicholas Feast day!!!

My mother comes from a large German Catholic family, she is 1 of 12 and they always celebrated St. Nicholas Day. So when she had children she passed it on to us. We would hang our stockings before bed on the Fifth of December and when we awoke there would always be an assortment of goodies in there. There would always be an Orange in the toe of the stocking, followed by some kind of little candies, usually chocolate or mints, and a little puzzle either a jig saw puzzle or a brain teaser. Something that you would have to think about while working on, and on the Mantle above our stocking there was always a Life Savors Candy Book with 10 rolls of assorted flavors of live savors in it. Looking back I know that my Parents didn’t spend a lot of money on these gifts, and some of the brain teasers were home made, but each year it made us feel special and let us know that we had been good enough for Santa to make the big drop come Christmas Eve. Thanks you for spreading the word and letting others know about this little known holiday.

-Gina, in Ohio