Friends, St. Nicholas Day is on December 6. And this year, St. Nicholas Day falls on a Sunday, just like it did in The Saint Nicholas Day Snow!
Because of that, and because 2020 has been such a hard year for everyone, I wanted to put together a sweet St. Nicholas Day gift bag full of treats for little ones that you could order from my webstore. But it’s still 2020, and for all sorts of reasons that are too boring to go into, I’m afraid I can’t make that happen.
So here’s what I’m doing instead. I’m going to make it easy for you to put together St. Nicholas Sgift bags for the little ones in your life. I’ve done the research. You can use my links to simplify the shopping. (These are NOT affiliate links, by the way. I’m not getting paid for this post.) If you are putting together St. Nicholas gift bags for all the kids in your Sunday school program, I’ve noted where quantity discounts are available.
All you have to do is settle on your budget, pick out the items that make sense for you, and place your orders. When the goodies arrive, put the gifts in the bags, deliver the bags to the little ones, and watch their eyes light up.
What to put in the St. Nicholas gift bag?
Gold coins, candy canes, and small oranges are the perfect place to start!
Paidea Classics has imported Belgian chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil and stamped with “St. Nicholas of Myra” on one side and a church dome on the other. These coins are available in bulk (25, 50, or 100 coins), and if you order before October 15, there’s a 15% discount.
Five or six of the coins would fit easily in one of these little linen bags with a hemp cord. It looks like the sort of bag St. Nicholas might have carried when he dropped gold coins through the window at the widower’s house. A dozen 3” x 5” bags is less than $5.
If you are only making one or two gift bags, and don’t want so many coins, you can get 6 chocolate coins in a little organza bag for $6.
Three gold balls are one of the symbols of St. Nicholas in religious art, to represent the 3 bags of gold St. Nicholas delivered to the widower’s daughters. Because oranges look rather like gold balls, oranges have long been a traditional St. Nicholas Day treat.
For local giving, you’ll want to buy mandarin oranges at your local grocery. Shipping those could be an issue, though. If you’re mailing your St. Nicholas gift bag, consider these gift-filled Christmas oranges from Etsy. They are filled with the sort of trinkets you might get in a Christmas cracker or a pinata. A bag of 6 cost $33. I’ve never tried them, but they look like they would be a lot of fun.
Candy canes represent St. Nicholas’s crozier, so every gift bag should include a candy cane. You’ll want to make sure the candy canes are gluten-free and allergy-safe, so all the children who receive the gift bags can enjoy them. Spangler candy canes are a good choice. 144 individually wrapped canes are $32. (You can also get 240 mini candy canes for less than $24!)
Add a book, an ornament, and other gifts
I believe that a book is the right gift for every occasion. I made a tradition of giving my children and godchildren books and Christmas ornaments every year. So, naturally, those seem like the right things to put in a St. Nicholas Day gift bag.
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow is the perfect book to include in your gift bag. The story begins on the morning of St. Nicholas Eve. Catherine’s best friend, Elizabeth, is coming for a sleepover. They’ll share a day filled with warm cookies, squabbles with siblings, holiday traditions, and the excitement of an unexpected snowstorm.
If your little ones are disappointed about missing church on St. Nicholas Day, they may be comforted by the fact that Catherine and Elizabeth missed church, too. In their case, it was because of the snow, and not the pandemic. But it will allow you to remind your children that things don’t always go the way we expect, and we can accept the challenges with courage and joy.
The paperback is $9.99, and the hardcover is $24.99. You can get it in my webstore or on Amazon, of course, or you can support your local independent bookstore by buying on bookshop.org. If you’re buying 10 or more copies, though, you’ll want to email my publisher at email@example.com to receive a 25% discount. (Just be sure to order early! Rush orders will likely be impossible.)
If you’re putting together gift bags for all your Sunday school students, ornaments that are definitively St. Nicholas might be too expensive to include. But if your gift bag is for your godchild or grandchild, check out the selection of St. Nicholas ornaments at The Saint Nicholas Center.
Or make an ornament! You can use this blackwork embroidery pattern that Tracy Thallas created to go with The Saint Nicholas Day Snow. You can see ornaments like it on the Christmas tree in Catherine’s house. The pattern is entirely free. Because the ornaments are small, you may be able to make as many as you need from odds and ends of even-weave linen and embroidery floss you have on hand.
Or make red egg ornaments using real egg shells or wooden eggs.
Mounted icons are expensive. But prayer cards and icon cards are not. And they’d be lovely to include in your gift bag.
A cookie cutter and a recipe would be lovely to include. I really like this rather ornate St. Nicholas cookie cutter. It’s about $5 (plus $7 for shipping!).
I also love this simpler cookie cutter, which ships from The Netherlands. It’s $5.50, and shipping is $8.44. But if you buy enough of them, shipping could be free.
If decorating a St. Nicholas cookie looks too complicated to you, consider getting a snowflake cutter instead. The Wilton comfort-grip snowflake cookie cutter is just $3.75. A simple glaze or sparkling sugar are all you need to decorate the snowflakes.
What to put the St. Nicholas gifts in?
Once you’ve assembled your gifts, you’ll need to package them. You can buy gift bags wherever you buy greeting cards, of course, but they’re expensive, especially if you’ve got a lot of gifts to give.
These snow-flake patterned paper gift bags are about $10 per dozen.
If your budget allows, you can choose a fancier bag and make the bag part of the gift. You can get a snowflake-printed tote bag from Zazzle, starting at just under $6. If you like, there’s even a personalized option! They would make awesome church bags for kids who bring books or quiet toys to church with them.
With prayers and wishes for a joyous St. Nicholas Day.
Looking for the real St. Nicholas: When you see old men in red robes with white beards, how do you know if they’re intended to be Santa Claus or St. Nicholas? Check out the symbols and tropes in this post, and you’ll (almost) always be able to tell.
Book activities with The Saint Nicholas Day Snow: Extend the book with cooking, crafts, academic activities, and Advent devotions.
Recipes for Pascha and St. Nicholas Day: Pascha and St. Nicholas Day both call for loads of yummy home-made treats.