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St. Nicholas & Student Shoes - A STV Tradition

At St. Vincent de Paul School, students will be given the opportunity to participate in an old STV Christmas tradition - St. Nick Shoes. Please send in one (1) random shoe with your student on or before December 5. Students will place their shoes in the hallways on December 5 and when they return to school December 6th, there will be goodies inside of all of them from St. Nick!

St. Nicholas with his donkey carrying gifts for children.

December 6th is the feast day of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children, which appropriately falls during the Advent season. This feast day is an especially exciting one for children as they count down the days on their Advent calendars in anticipation of Christmas day.

St. Nicholas of Myra is a major saint in many European and Eastern countries, and one of the old Christian traditions surrounding his feast day is for kids to leave their shoes out overnight in front of the fireplace, on the windowsill, or outside their bedroom door so that St. Nicholas can fill them with special fruits, candies, and other small gifts and treats.

This tradition grew from the story of when St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra, threw bags of dowry money, either through a window or down a chimney, into the home of an impoverished family to rescue their daughters from being sold into slavery. This was just one of his many acts of good will and charity towards the poor, especially poor children.


While Catholics in America aren't as big on celebrating this feast day with their children, more and more American Catholic families are adopting St. Nicholas Day as a special Advent family tradition.

Ideas to include in your children's shoes are bags of chocolate candy coins, a small toy, new socks, a tangerine, and inexpensive religious items, such as a Christmas ornament, a rosary, saint bracelet, and prayer cards. You can find St. Nicholas Catholic gifts here. You can also include candy canes which symbolize a shepherd's staff, and even have a little fun by re-shaping them into a bishop's crosier

Another cute part of this tradition is for kids to leave carrots or hay in their shoes overnight for St. Nicholas' donkey to eat. St. Nicholas takes the hay and carrots for his donkey, and replaces them with small gifts and treats for the children in the morning.

Yes . . . St. Nicholas was known to ride a donkey laden with gifts for children before he graduated to flying reindeer!

Continuing this Advent tradition in your own home is a great way to teach your children to venerate the saints and to deepen their knowledge of and love for the Christian faith.

Have fun reading about the variety of some of these stories here as families share their own St. Nicholas day traditions past and present.

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