Advent Calendar & St Nic fun for the kids

Advent Calendar to Colour
Here’s a simple interactive advent calendar to colour.
The story of St Nicholas for kids
This is the story of the first Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. To this day people say that St. Nicholas, or Santa, is the special friend of children and he still has many helpers at Christmas time!
Leader brings objects out of bag as they tell the story.
Materials: Sack/pillow case with items in it: Sock,red hat or tea towel; a boat, a bag of chocolate coins, bible, flower, piece of bread, picture of peasants or family.
Intro: We are going to hear the story about the very first Santa. A real person who loved Jesus called St Nicholas who lived a very long time ago.
Flower: Nicholas’ parents died when he was just a teenager. His parents left him a lot of money which made him a rich young man. He went to live with his uncle who was a priest – like a pastor of a church.He lived in the village of Patara in Turkey.
Bible: Nicholas was brought up to believe in God and he tried to live a Christian life.
Choc coins: He used all the money he had to look after people who were very poor.
Red hat: Nicholas loved helping people. He always tried to help secretly. He didn’t want any attention or thanks. When he was older he became a bishop. Bishops work for a church and look after people. They wore a red cape and hat.
Bread: When there wasn’t any food, Nicholas found wheat; so no one went hungry. He always helped people in trouble. All his life Nicholas showed people how to love God and care for each other.
Picture of family: Nicholas heard about a man who had lost all his money. He had three daughters who were old enough to get married. But in those days young women had to have money in order to get married. This money was a “dowry” and it was used to help the new family get started. If you didn’t have dowry money, you didn’t get married.
This family was so poor they had nothing left to eat. The daughters were going to be sold as slaves because they couldn’t live at home any longer. They were very sad. They wouldn’t be able to have families of their own. And they would have to be slaves—no longer able to decide where they would live or what they would do.
Socks: The night before the oldest daughter was to be sold, she washed her stockings and put them in front of the fire to dry. Then all of them went to sleep—the father and the three daughters.  In the morning the daughter saw a lump in her stocking. Reaching in, she found a small, heavy bag. It had gold inside! Enough to provide food for the family and money for her dowry. Oh, how happy they were! The next morning, another bag with gold was found. Imagine! Two of the daughters would now be saved. Such joy!
And the next night, the father planned to stay awake to find out who was helping his daughters. He dozed off, but heard a small “clink” as another bag landed in the room. Quickly he jumped up and ran out the door. Who did he catch ducking around the corner? Nicholas, the young man who lived with his uncle. “Nicholas, it is you! Thank you for helping us—I hardly know what to say!” Nicholas said, “Please, do not thank me—thank God that your prayers have been answered. Do not tell others about me.”
Boat: Everyone loved Nicholas. After he died, they told stories of the good and kind things Nicholas had done. Sailors took these stories about Nicholas everywhere they went. Some of the stories were about his special care for children—helping and protecting them when danger threatened. And so more and more people learned about good, kind Nicholas.
This is the story of the first Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. To this day people say that St. Nicholas, or Santa, is the special friend of children and he still has many helpers at Christmas time!
Questions: What did you like most about the story? How was St Nicholas being like Jesus and helping Jesus?
Finish discussion by thanking Jesus that he cares for each person and for the example of st Nic.
Story idea adapted from here:
Optional St Nicholas Game: Throwing coins in the shoe
Materials: chocolate coins.
Invite the kids to take off their shoes and line them up. The kids stand behind a ‘line’ and try to throw a coin into their shoe.
by Emma Morgan