Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus: The Transformation over Time
It’s that time of year again – Christmastime!
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it is so easy for kids (and even parents!) to get so caught up in the gift getting that the beauty of giving is completely lost.
Did you know that there was a man behind the idea of Santa Claus? And that this man was not only a committed Christian, but spent his life giving to others for the Lord? Learning about the life of Saint Nicholas is an excellent way to help our kids (and ourselves!) to remember the importance of giving this Christmas season!
Nicholas was born around AD 280 in what is now Turkey. When he was still young, his parents died and left him with a huge amount of money. Not knowing what to do with all the money he suddenly had in his possession, he decided to give it away! He spent his life learning about God and serving others sacrificially. He even spent many years in jail for his commitment to Christ. He contributed significantly to the Nicene Creed which affirms faith in the Trinity. On December 6, he passed away from an illness. This day is now observed as Saint Nicholas Feast Day.
Saint Nicholas has been attributed with all sorts of miracles and good deeds. These legends are the foundation behind the Santa Claus of today. Nicholas is said to have secretly given away his fortune gradually to those in need in his hometown. Legends even claim that he threw money down chimneys and into shoes!
While the Santa Claus of today is quite a bit different than the real man behind the red suit, we can still use Nicholas’ story to inspire the joy of giving in our kids. I have a mini unit that is perfect for teaching our young learners (toddlers through 1st grade) about the legend behind Santa Claus. His life and the legends attributed to him are so fascinating, full of rich history that begs to be a part of your Advent learning.
The best part of all? Studying the life of Saint Nicholas points us back to the true reason for the season – Jesus Christ.
Enjoy this mini unit as well as this delicious recipe to go along with it!
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Saint Nicholas is a fascinating character to study! His life and work (and attributed legends) are all full of rich history that begs to become part of your Advent learning.
Our Gluten Free Dairy Free Dutch Baby Pancake Recipe
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, or So Delicious Coconut Holiday Nog if it’s the holidays!
1/4 tsp of salt
Blend all ingredients in a blender at high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Put two TBS of ghee or coconut oil into your hot skillet and make sure all sides are coated then pour in the pancake batter.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the pancake is puffy and golden brown. Serve with syrup, fruit topping, or powdered sugar.
The resources we love and recommend for learning about Saint Nicholas
The Legend of Saint NicholasVeggieTales: Saint NicholasThe Legend of Saint NicholasMilk Chocolate CoinsThe True Saint Nicholas: Why He Matters to ChristmasPLAYMOBIL Saint Nicholas and AngelSaint Nicholas Icon Wooden OrnamentSaint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins