It is so nice to be visiting here today and to talk about good old St Nic! For most of us St Nic of course is St Nicolas or Father Christmas or Santa Clause, who comes on during the night and fills our Christmas stocking ready for Christmas Day! However, some of continental Europeans also celebrate Sankt Nikolaus – I believe (!) that he is the original Father Christmas. Sankt Nikolaus was a bishop (hence the red hat!) who was very kind and generous. In Winter he would give food and money to the poor (a very simple summary of his life). The tradition in Austria and Germany, is for children to put out their well polished boots or shoes one the eve of December the 5th.. and if (!) he has been good, Sankt Nikolaus will come and leave you some chocolate coins, some nuts and dried fruit. These days it tends to be more about chocolate, but I encourage my kids to have a little bit of everything and we also add some traditional Austrian cookies!
In the run up to Sankt Nikolaus day, he often visits schools with the Krampus (a devil like creature and an Austrian tradition) or Schwarzer Peter (Germanic) to check if you have been good. He has a big book that tells him all about you. If you have been good, you will get a treat… if bad…. Well, the Krampus will spank your bottom!!!
Children will also do Sankt Nikolaus crafts – which of course double up nicely for Father Christmas crafts, if your family doesn’t celebrate St Nic’s day…
Here we have three of our favourite:
First up is a simple Stick Santa Claus Craft . We LOVE stick men and have made many over the years. They are simple and fun to make and these are a good variation of them.
Alternatively, you can make these super cute and simple Santa Stars. They are hugely popular in preschools as you can get the children to simply “stick and assembly”! We made a few and strung them up as a garland. But they would be nice on a Christmas card too.
Finally, I recycled some corks with the kids to make this adorable Father Christmas Craft. You can turn these into little Christmas tree ornaments or make enough and have a go at “Santa Bowling”. And done.
Finally.. if you are interested, I would love to share some of our traditional Cookie Recipes that we like to make throughout the month of November and in time for Advent and Christmas. The children will leave some of these out for Sankt Nikolaus to eat and we also like to give them as small gifts to neighbours and friends through the Christmas Season!
Love crafts and fancy some more? Check out my brand new book Red Ted Art, Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids. The book has a number of Christmas crafts in it, but also crafts for all year round. I like to think of your crafting guide for all year (you will find Autumn, Halloween, Easter and Summer ideas for it).. as well as crafts for a variety of age groups. One purchase, years of fun.
As to Christmas this year, going to give “The Gift of Creativity” friends and family. The idea is to “reduce the dreaded toy mountain” and to create “Basic” and “Jazzed up” Craft Kits that you can put together yourself – and then, if you wish, add a copy of Red Ted Art the book and you will have a fabulously creative gift – both original and different!
What do you think? Would make a lovely present, don’t you think?
Wishing you all a very magical and festive Christmas Season!
About the Author: Maggy Woodley, is a crafty mum of two! She loves everything about crafts and loves nothing better to recycle and forage for craft materials – making crafts economical and fun. Maggy also writes at Life at The Zoo about general parenting things and Theatre Books and Movies for ahem theatres ,books and movies!
Maggy’s craft site, Red Ted Art, is also now being translated into German, Spanish and Russian! Do check them out too.
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