In a few days we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas of Myra and Lycea. This popular saint performed many miracles and helped many people during his life. He saved the people of Myra from famine. He protected sailors at sea. He resurrected three children who were killed by a butcher for food during a famine. And of course, we all know the story of how he saved the merchants three daughters from a life of immorality by secretly giving their father gold for their dowries.
We also all know how the legend of this beloved saint has evolved into the secular character of Santa Claus. In our home, my daughters do get gifts from Santa Claus on Christmas morning, but they also receive a visit from St. Nicholas on his feast day. St. Nicholas leaves them golden dollars, fruit, a small religious item, and a few trinkets every year. I make sure they remember his generosity every year, too. We read The Life of Saint Nicholas the Wonder-Worker by Nina Seco and say a special prayer. Until this year, I've never done a craft for his feast day, though. This is a craft that will be a bridge between St. Nicholas Day and Christmas. So, if you don't have time to get supplies and do it today, you'll have time between now and Christmas.
Of the many symbols associated with St. Nicholas, this one can also be used for Christmas decorations. The symbol of three golden balls reminds us of the three dowries St. Nicholas gave to the merchant. This symbol also makes lovely Christmas tree ornaments that are meaningful to us, but also blend in with other Christmas decorations. And they're super easy for kids of all ages to create.
3 smooth foam balls
Scissors or paper cutter
Sponge or Styrofoam board
Thumbprint St. Nicholas icon
Directions (repeat for each ball):
- Insert a toothpick into a ball. Insert other end in sponge or Styrofoam to hold it while you paint and while it dries.
- Paint the ball gold, and let it dry.
- Attach the St. Nicholas icon to the ball with decoupage glue. Smooth it out and paint a layer of glue over it. (You can do this for each ball or just one in the set). Let dry.
- Fold ribbon over once to make a loop, and attach it to the top of the ball with a straight pin.
- Add any optional embellishments.