Here on the Range we hang stockings for St. Nicholas to fill on the eve of his feast day. (Some families use shoes.) We tell the children St. Nicholas will fill them, but I have a feeling First Son guessed it was us this year. He's not saying anything, though.
We chose one slightly larger gift each for the girls and First Son in addition to some smaller items.(In case anyone is wondering, St. Nicholas does not wrap his gifts. The kids also receive stockings from Grammy and PawPaw on Christmas day that have lots of "essentials" like socks, toothbrushes,** toothpaste, Kids Flossers, and a some fun gifts, too.) Here are this year's gifts:
- Chopsticks - St. Nicholas left some of these a year or two ago but we didn't have enough for everyone, especially after First Son accidentally broke one set, so St. Nicholas brought four more. Now we'll have extras for guests.
- Basic Beat Pair of 8" Combination Rhythm Sticks - St. Nicholas knows how much fun they've been having with rhythm sticks in choir. Second Son received some of these as well.
- Dollar coins - two for Second Daughter, four for First Daughter and seven for First Son (whose birthday is in less than a week, oh my).
- Homemade bookmarks and a matching game.
- For First Son: Ribsy. (I haven't read this book, at least not in years, so we'll be reading it together. Kansas Dad picked it for us. We have listened to Henry Huggins and Henry and Ribsy in the van. First Son enjoyed them immensely. He sometimes even laughed out loud. There are quite a few instances of kids being not nice to one another, but nothing too awful and we've talked about how that behavior isn't acceptable. Also, in one of these, though I can't remember which one, Henry says he knows his father is the one who leaves money under his pillow when he loses a tooth, just in case you don't want that kind of knowledge shared in your household.)
- For the girls: doll diapers. These are so adorable!
- Gold coin chocolate candy, of course! I was lucky to find it this year. I think I tossed it into our cart sometime before Thanksgiving when wandering the Christmas aisles of a superstore. (Is anyone else disturbed that "superstore" is a real word?)
We also watched what I think is our first video of Advent. Through no real effort on my part, we seem to have gotten out of the habit of watching every day, or even every week. Today, though, was a feast day. And Second Daughter was sick, so we had a relaxing day with a few lessons, lots of Legos and a video: Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, of course! (If you're interested in VeggieTales, I wrote brief reviews of our favorites last year.)
Now that we're past St. Nicholas's feast day, it's time to prepare for First Son's birthday. I never realized how complicated life could be when I married a man who was born in December and then had a baby in December who was baptized before the end of the month. It's a lot of celebrating!
* For those who do not know the song (as I did not before we learned it for choir), you can see the lyrics (slightly different than what we learned) and listen to the tune at the website for the Saint Nicholas Center.
** I find it necessary to have a solid stash of kids' toothbrushes. I can't believe how often they drop them into the garbage or the toilet or decide to scrub the sink or bathtub with them. Seriously? You won't pick up a few toys off the living room floor without groans and moans, but you'll scrub the sink? With your toothbrush?