There are many stories about St. Nicholas and I have many favorites I could share. A resource we have been using here at our home since the start of Advent is the website St. Nicholas Center. It is full of history, stories, games, crafts. We love it and the littles have been so eager to hear a new story or to look at the pictures again and again. What I truly love is that we are creating a new tradition in our home about the modern "Santa Claus" and what I know to be true in my heart. As a family, we have been pulling further and further away from the hysteria of a "traditional, cultural" Christmas. We've never been much into the whole Santa coming down the chimney thing and the purchasing of too many toys that will just end up gathering dust in the corner, ideal. We try very hard to protect our children from the onslaught of what many believe to be a normal celebration of Christmas. I say normal because I know first hand that the way we choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) is viewed by many in my life as abnormal!!
One of the suggestions on the St. Nicholas Center website I love most is this one . The suggestion is to leave just a note behind, not a present or other trinket, just a note. What this note "gives" is the gift of time. Time to just be and spend with your loved one. The note could read:: "What I give to you is 30 minutes of conversation time with your Mama or Papa every night before bed". You can tailor this note to fit whatever model works best for you. The gift of time is much more valuable than any other gift you could give your child or partner, in my opinion. Celebrating St. Nicholas within the Advent season encourages a bit more magic and enchantment to all of our preparations and waiting for Christmas. We can focus on the good, kind and loving deeds of a true Saint which helps to redirect the gift giving energy to this time and opens up our Christmas celebrations to be wrapped more deeply around the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Another thought that comes up for me is, what about giving yourself time with just, well......yourself? What does that look and feel like? I'm still trying to figure out what that means for me. I've embarked on A Season of Mindfulness and in doing so I've been trying out what it feels like to really listen within, to slow it down and be present, or not. It's an uphill struggle to sort out all of those grizzly places that have been longing for attention. Most days are better than others but when I'm really digging deeply I've found that there is lots of clean-up to do. Years of neglect and stuffing means shifting and clearing the way won't happen overnight. That may be one of the most frustrating things about self-care and love.......I'm an instant gratification kinda girl, this isn't like needle felting :) Having said that I have had some wonderful break throughs. I know very deeply that I am extremely sensitive and my feelings get hurt easily. I am eagerly working on shifting all of that by being better about communicating (some days are better than others) and realizing that it's OK for me to be my *soul* provider. I've looked to my partner, mostly, to fulfill that role. That's a pretty large role to fill so when things don't happen or work out the way I would expect, my feelings get hurt. I would love to release my adoring husband and myself from all of that.......the beautiful thing about self-care and love is that you feel good about all of it! All that goodness and love comes from and continues to live within you. Imagine how that would fill you up?! Taking the time to do something nice for yourself will fill your vessel more quickly than waiting for someone else to do it!
Speaking of needle felting, I carved out some time to work on another St. Nicholas treat for one of my lovies that will go along with our little note (I'm really loving creating handmade treasures for my children this year!).
I cut a 5" round piece of felt and needle felted some polka dots on to it.
Then I stitched a drawstring through it........
.......and voila! A felted drawstring pouch! I imagine it would make a lovely little package with a sweet little note from St. Nicholas to leave in my Bella's shoe. Later, she could use the pouch as a travel jewelry pouch. I'm sure she'll think of something.
What will your St. Nicholas celebration look like this year?