I know you and your little ones are feeling a bit stir-crazy right now. I am, too. All of my regular summer activities have been cancelled. We’re all looking for something fun to do. And I have just the thing: The Nativity of St. Nicholas falls on July 29. You can have a party to celebrate St. Nicholas’s birthday!
It can’t be a large party this year, of course. Maybe just your own family. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! And maybe, just maybe, it will be the start of a new summer tradition for your family.
Here are three different St. Nicholas party themes for you to choose from. All of the parties include crafts your children can make. And while they’re working on their crafts, it’s a great time to talk to the children about St. Nicholas. The Saint Nicholas Center offers these conversation starters.
Have a splash party
Besides being the patron saint of children, St. Nicholas is also the patron saint of sailors. And there are many, many stories about his saving sailors from storms. That means you can celebrate St. Nicholas with cool, fun water activities!
- Tell a story about St. Nicholas rescuing sailors, or the Greek version of the story of St. Nicholas and St. John Cassian. Feel free to adapt the stories to your child’s age and attention span.
- Make paper boats and float them in a back-yard wading pool. Or make 3D sailboat pictures.
- Blow bubbles!
- Turn on the sprinklers to make a “storm” to run through
Share some special treats for the day, starting with ice cold watermelon. And for St. Nicholas’s birthday cake, make a sailboat cake!
Have a snow party
If it’s blazing hot, you might want to cool off with a snow-themed celebration.
- Read The Saint Nicholas Day Snow.
- If you have a snowflake-shaped cookie cutter, make snowflake cookies. Otherwise, make snowball cookies.
- Make paper snowflakes or popsicle stick snowflakes.
- Have a snowball fight! Give each child a bag of cotton balls, and let the fight begin!
Homemade snow cones would be so much fun for a snow day in July.
December in July party
Maybe your kids would love a summer repeat of your family’s St. Nicholas Day traditions. Or maybe you can try some holiday traditions that you never have time for in December.
- Tell the story of the dowry for the widower’s daughters.
- Candy canes, of course, represent St. Nicholas’s crozier. Make home-made candy canes or, with younger children, make candy cane cookies.
- Make a paper-plate St. Nicholas. Use these but instead of putting a cotton ball pompom on the top of the hat, add a gold cross to make it a miter.
- Play a St. Nicholas version of the beanbag toss game. Get 6 or 8 small cloth bags (or old socks), and put a handful of beans in the bottom of each bag. Tie the bags closed. Set shoes across the room from the players, and let them try to toss the bags of “gold” into the shoes.
Oranges and chocolate coins and cookies are the go-to treats for St. Nicholas Day. For your summer St. Nicholas party sweets, try one of these traditional St. Nicholas Day desserts. Or make St. Nicholas cupcakes.
More ways to celebrate St. Nicholas
Your celebration of St. Nicholas can extend beyond the party!
- Light some candles and pray a portion of the Akathist to St. Nicholas.
- Many stories about St. Nicholas tell of his great love for the poor. Tell your children the story of St. Nicholas delivering the land of Lycia from famine. Then, if your local food bank is accepting food donations, take a basket of nonperishable food to the food bank.
- Get out your St. Nicholas picture books to read with your little ones. My favorites are The Saint Nicholas Day Snow, The Baker’s Dozen, and the wonderful, unexpected Vasily and the Dragon.
You can find more resources for celebrating St. Nicholas at The Saint Nicholas Center.
St. Nicholas on Charlotte’s blog: Learn more about St. Nicholas with these stories.
Book activities from The Saint Nicholas Day Snow: Add to the fun with St. Nicholas-related projects, including cooking, crafts, academics, and devotions.
St. Nicholas takes the executioner’s sword: This was my children’s favorite story about St. Nicholas. It’s as exciting as any super-hero adventures!