family craft photo album: st. nicholas day 2016

Seeing as I’ve filled up my Instagram story with St. Nicholas day overgramming and have about 6 more photos I want to share from today’s festivities, I might as well put it all down in a blog post.

St. Nicholas is a favorite Saint for Christians worldwide, but we Orthodox people love him so very much!

In our family we’ve adopted St. Nicholas day as the sort of kick-off to the Christmas festivities. It’s when we purchase our tree and decorate for the season. (Don’t worry- I have intense FOMO every year when I see my friends’ Christmasing after Thanksgiving!)

Since we celebrate the Nativity during the twelve days of Christmas (Christmas day through Theophany) we extend the Christmas cheer for a bit longer than our friends who de-holiday on December 26th. It works out in the end, but I’m bad at waiting.

On the eve of St. Nicholas Day we attended our church for vespers, a play about the life of St. Nicholas (performed by the teens), and a small party. The kids leave their shoes to be filled with goodies during the play (who else loves those crappy chocolate coins as much as I do?) and they collect toys for the MIFA store.

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After we returned home, we prayed as a family, opened our Jesse tree ornament for the day, and set up the nativity set together.

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We add a piece to our Fontanini Nativity each year. This year Brandon had already gifted me an Archangel Gabriel to add to our scene, but he snuck away during his lunch break yesterday to surprise us with a shepherd boy to add. It was particularly sweet due to Wm playing a shepherd in our church’s nativity play this year. And also, the shepherd looks almost identical to my curly blonde baby boy!! (So naturally I cried. It’s what I do.)

We gifted Wm his annual monogrammed Christmas PJs (thanks Honey!) and tucked him in bed. THEN the fun began!!

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Brandon and I set to work trimming the tree, sweeping up pine needles, listening to the She and Him Christmas album on the record player, sweeping up pine needles, decorating the house, setting up St. Nicholas day goodies in Wm’s waiting shoes, and then, for good measure, we swept up some more pine needles!

#realtreesforlife

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We were up until midnight (ok, I was the one who couldn’t stop the madness) and then passed out!

This morning Wm woke up to see the tree for the first time in all its glory.

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I try to get a picture of his reaction each year. That boy looks really sweet lit by a Christmas tree! And each year I have the reactions printed and frame them for us to display with our Christmas decor. (It’s our version of a Santa photo, since we aren’t Santa people.)

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As usual, my sweet buddy had the perfect reaction and was thrilled to see his favorite ornaments again.

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He was so enthralled with the tree that he didn’t even notice his shoes filled with goodies right underneath! Once he discovered them he was even more thrilled.

img_4030My mom covered the daycare for the morning so that we could all three attend the St. Nicholas liturgy together as a family. Afterward some sweet friends decorated special tables for the kids and organized a St. Nicholas ornament craft.

Today has been filled with basking in the cozy glow of the Christmas tree, drinking cocoa, coloring St. Nicholas coloring pages, and trying our best to let our lives emulate this incredible Saint who means so much to us.

img_4036Happy Saint Nicholas day to you and your family!

Holy father Nicholas pray for us!

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