Happy feast day of St. Nicholas! My Instagram is overflowing with lovely photos of Catholic homes displaying children’s shoes filled with treats. My home? Not so much. It seems I am always a day late and dollar short and in our home St. Nicholas works in a delayed time zone and we put out our shoes the NIGHT of his feast day because Mama Elf was not quite ready. Truth be told, we are trying out a new Advent tradition today and I wanted it to coincide with the feast of St. Nicholas so our shoes will go out tonight.
A few years back, I asked some fellow Catholic moms how they keep Christ in Christmas. A friend shared with me how she has her kids write letters to Baby Jesus instead of Santa. She wrote:
An old Catholic custom is the writing of “Christmas Letters” by the children. These letters, addressed to the Child Jesus (NOT Santa Claus) are written or dictated by the little ones some time before Christmas. They contain their wishes concerning Christmas presents, petitions for various intentions, and a promise of sincere effort to please Our Lord in preparation for Christmas. When they go to bed, the children put their letters on the windowsill, from where “angels” take them during the night to bring them to the Child Jesus in heaven.
This charming custom helps the parents to impress on the minds of their little ones the importance of a sincere spiritual preparation and at the same time great confidence in God who is concerned with our temporal and spiritual needs. Parents who favor this custom will often be deeply touched when they discover that some of their children put more stress on spiritual graces than on material gifts even on an occasion like this. It can also alert parents to the need for more guidance and direction toward this goal. (From LD of CA)
I loved that idea and every year I said, “This year we will do the same!” I think I’ve since had two more kids but still have not tried it. But today is the day!
The boys still believe in Santa and they wanted to write their wish lists but I liked the idea of a letter to Baby Jesus so I incorporated the two. I put together a simple form letter that I could print off and give everyone to fill out. Here is what it looked like. (The link for the PDF is below. There is also a second version with no reference to Santa.)
They spent time today thinking about what they would do as a gift to Baby Jesus.
They chose a person they would especially pray for during Advent.
Lastly, they wrote what gifts they would like Santa to bring them on Christmas morning when we have Jesus’ birthday party (complete with cake. ;-))
When they were done, they folded up their letters and put them in their shoes for St. Nicholas to deliver to Baby Jesus. Tomorrow morning they will find their letters gone and their treats instead.
If you’d like to print of a copy of the Letter to Baby Jesus for your little ones, I posted the PDF here. Also, I made a second version for those who don’t want the Santa aspect. It can be found here. Enjoy. 🙂
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