St. Nicholas: Through the Eyes and Ears of a Child

“Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving. He lived in the fourth century. Santa Claus (Sinterklaas) is a Dutch form of the name St. Nicholas. This famous saint was born in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. After his parents died, he gave all his money to charity. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and prisoners, as well as children. He later became a bishop and loved justice for all.” (Saints for the Young Readers for Every Day) It was just last year in our Religion Education classes, at St. Thomas Aquinas, that we were turning chocolate Santa’s into a bishop on the feast day of St. Nicholas. Here in the Netherlands, St. Nicholas with a staff, a bible, and a bishop’s hat lined the shelves of the stores this November and December. For a wealth of information this website, St. Nicholas Center, has helped us as parents understand our own American Santa Claus and connect the Dutch Traditions of Sinterklaas with the saint that lived long ago. We still have so much more to learn about this new culture, but for now our kids have thoroughly enjoyed the Sinterklaas festivities these past few weeks and it has brought big smiles to their faces!

My walks with the kids to and from school will forever be remembered here in the Netherlands. I will admit that most of  the time we are hustling and bustling and on the move to school. On this cold windy morning, we were quickly throwing on our heavy jackets, scarves, and mittens, to rush to the school for the big Sinterklaas celebration. Yesterday’s talk with Maci to and from school was priceless and I wanted to take the time to write down and share this funny and simple, but golden conversation.

In the morning on the way to school:

Maci: My life is walking. Walking, walking, and more walking. I need a hot bath.

In the afternoon, after the Sinterklaas celebration:

Maci: Mom, tell me more about Saints.

Me: Well, they were ordinary people that did the extraordinary. They listened to God and chose to follow his will.

Maci: Like St. Nicholas and St. Therese?

Me: Yes. Saint Nicholas teaches us the gift of giving to others and Saint Therese teaches us to do small things for others out of love for Jesus.

Maci: How do they hear Jesus? How do they know what to do?

Me: They quiet their mind and open their hearts to hear Him. They pray. They pray a lot.

Maci: Well, one day when I grow up I am going to be a Saint and teach children how to dance and sing and teach them about Jesus too!

What JOY this brought to my heart! I then gave her a big hug and a wave as she headed back to her classroom for the afternoon. We started off our morning a bit grumbly about all the walking in the cold weather, but the arrival of Sinterklaas at her school turned things around BIG time and warmed us right up!

Schools do not shut down for snow or ice, but they do close for a Saint’s feast day! We celebrated this morning with pepernoten, chocolate St. Nick’s, coins, clementines, and cocoa found in our shoes! As the kids were opening up their goodies, mom turned around to find the biggest and most beautiful snowflakes outside our window! What more JOY this brought to our home today! Happy St. Nicholas’s Feast Day to you and your families!

St. Nicholas, pray for us in Heaven! Thank you for teaching us to have generous and loving hearts. You went out of your way to do good for people. We know that you will teach us to be the same kind of person if we ask Him. Amen






  1. Irmi Casteel says:

    Oh my goodness. That story made me all weepy. How sweet, so very sweet !! And all these memories from my own childhood, and when my boys were young and we were still in Germany. Then St. Nikolaus came to our house that evening in PERSON. And he read from his big book all about my children, and their cousins who were also at the house, and he praised them for being good all year, and he scolded Lisa for not eating her veggies, and she started howling, it was so funny……………. After he had left my Christopher said to me, and he was very serious : ” mom, St. Nikolaus has the same kind of boots like Uncle Andreas has “

  2. Cecilia says:

    This post reminded me of one of my cat chat albums. The kids ask questions and the parents always have a very wise, yet simple, correct answer for the kid. Well done, Jessica, well done!

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