Jolly Old St. Nickolas
The lesson of Jolly Old St. Nicholas will draw in little ones & take the excitement and magic of Christmas to a new level! Children will learn about the true meaning of Santa- the cheerful giver- as well as the meaning behind stockings, candy canes & more. :) St. Nicholas day is traditionally celebrated on Dec. 6 where children receive chocolate and gifts in their boots. Let’s get into the Spirit of Christmas as we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!
“Jolly Old St. Nicholas!” Unit: Unwrapping Christmas
LESSON PURPOSE: Children will learn about the story of St.Nicholas giving a deeper meaning to Santa and How Christmas is the Season of giving!
MATERIALS: Optional: santa hat, boot, cane, sack, candy cane, Santa chocolate, stocking, gold chocolate coins
AS CHILDREN ARRIVE: Choose 1 Sensory Activity:
Gift Wrap Station: Have children help wrap “presents,” empty boxes. ;)
Bells to Music: Have children play musical instruments & dance to Christmas songs!
Christmas Sensory Bin: Fill a bin with christmas themed items and feel with your hands!
SCRIPTURE: Display the weekly scripture reading, have an older child read it or use it in the lesson as you like.
“True love is the love to give and give without expecting any return. Give and forget.” -Rev. Sun Myung Moon
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31
INTRODUCE the Lesson:
WELCOME: SONG, PRAYER, TP Greeting
**Shoes off! Optional: Have children take off their shoes during the lesson, so they can secretly be filled with chocolate coins, candy canes etc during the lesson as a surprise!
REVIEW & TRANSITION:
Last month, we reflected on all the things we’re grateful for like our family and God’s creation. Does anyone know what holiday is coming up soon? “Christmas!” That’s right- we’re entering the season of Christmas! It’s a wonderful season of giving and we’re going to be “Unwrapping Christmas”, learning all about the meaning of Christmas and Jesus’ birth this December. :) I bet you’re all very excited for Christmas! For the lights, Christmas tree, presents & baking cookies! Do you know why we celebrate Christmas? To celebrate the birth of Jesus! That's right and we're going to learn all about Jesus’ birth this month. There is a jolly old fella who helps us celebrate Christmas each year. Does anyone know who?
ATTENTION GRABBER: choose 1
Guess Who? “His hair is white, his suit is red. He wears a hat to cover his head. He laughs this way: Ho Ho Ho! And drives his sleigh, through sleet and snow!”
Santa Claus! Show children a picture of Santa or put on a Santa hat. Ho Ho Ho! And ask children- who is Santa Claus? What do you love about Santa? Today we are going to learn all about his origins and where he came from. Did you know that there is a special day coming up before Christmas this week on Dec 6, celebrated by many children around the world? It's called St. Nicholas Day!
INTRO: TODAY WE WILL LEARN ABOUT JOLLY OLD ST.NICK- THE CHEERFUL GIVER!
CHOOSE 1 OR 2: READ A STORY, SING A SONG OR POEM, WATCH A VIDEO:
VIDEOS: click on the link for educational, sing along or dance videos
READ ALOUD STORY:
SONG OR POEM:
Twas the Night Before Christmas- “'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…”
*TEACH the Lesson:
TEACHING POINT 1: The Story of Jolly Old St. Nick
STORYTIME: Feel free to tell the story by reading a book, watching a short film or storytelling the script below using props: santa hat, boot, cane, sack, candy cane, Santa chocolate, stocking, gold chocolate coins
“Once upon a time, there lived a man in the country of Turkey named Nicholas. Young Nicholas grew up in a wealthy family and was very grateful for all that he had. When he was a young boy he decided that he did not need all of his toys and he would give them away to children that didn't have so many. He studied to become a good man of God and received a red cloak and red pointy hat as a Bishop. One day when he was a young man, Nicholas heard about a father who was very poor. His 3 daughters were all ready to get married and were very excited. But back then in order for girls to get married their family had to pay a “dowry” and he could not afford to, they couldn't even afford enough food to eat. So the young girls felt sad. Nicholas felt sorry for them and wanted to help the nice family!
One night the oldest daughter left her stockings out to dry overnight by the chimney. When she woke up she was surprised to find a bag of gold coins in her stocking! It was enough money to help buy the family food and get the oldest daughter married! They were so happy! The next night gold coins were found in the second daughter's stockings. They couldn't believe it they were so happy. The next evening the father decided to stay awake and try to find out who this mystery giver was and he spotted Nicholas! Nicholas asked the father to keep it a secret and told him that it was all thanks to God.
Over the years, Nicholas continued to help people in secret. He didn't want recognition, he simply wanted to give to give and bring joy to others. He knew that God knew and the joy he felt in his heart when helping others was enough. He was a cheerful giver! And was often seen rising on a horse and carrying a sack full of gifts. He also used a cane as he became older (candy canes!) Throughout his life Nicholas always helped others in different ways. He taught people how to love God & love others. And that is why he became a Saint. Today Santa Claus brings gifts to children all over the world!
When St. Nick was young what did he do with his toys? He felt he had enough and gave away some of his toys to children who may not have any.
When St.Nick became a bishop what did he wear? A red cloak and red pointy hat.
What did the girl leave out to dry by the chimney? her stockings!
How did St. Nicholas help? he secretly left gold in the girls’ stockings!
Why did St.Nicholas give in secret? He loved God and simply wanted to help others. He received joy in his heart from helping others.
What did St. Nicholas ride on? A horse (Now- sleigh + reindeer)
What did he carry on the horse? A sack of gifts (Santa’s sack)
What did he use when he got older? A cane! (candy cane)
TEACHING POINT 2: A Cheerful Giver*optional EXTENSION
How can you be a cheerful giver? Give in secret! An act of kindness in secret! Make my brother’s bed, tidy without being asked…
How can you bring joy to others this Christmas Season? Make a gift, sing carols, bake cookies, help others…
What are you most excited about for Christmas? Presents, baking cookies, Christmas lights, decorating the tree, Santa, celebrating Jesus…
St Nicholas was a cheerful giver! There is a lot we can learn from him. Let's be kind and make others happy too! As we get in the Christmas Spirit to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s bring joy to others through giving. Santa Claus is looking for good boys & girls who listen to their parents, share well and are kind to others! ;) We are so excited for the Christmas Season!
Dear Heavenly Parent, thank you for Jolly Old St. Nick and teaching us about the Spirit of Giving this Christmas! We pray that children all over the world can be grateful, joyful and loved this Season. Help us to be cheerful givers! Amen. Aju!
ADVENT: (Optional) Light a candle each week during prayer for the 4 weeks of Advent, leading up to Jesus’ birthday party!
APPLY the Lesson:
GROUP ACTIVITIES: choose 1
Gold Coins- Give children a gold coin one at a time and have them choose a friend to secretly give one to by putting it in their shoe or filling up a sock/stocking for someone.
Relay Race: Have children put on a red jacket, hat, carry a present in a sack & place it in a stocking. All children do this one at a time tag team.
Cane: Do the limbo with Santa's “cane".
Gift Wrap: Provide each child with an empty box and help them to wrap a “present" and top it with a bow!
CRAFTS: choose 1
St Nicholas Hat Mask: precut the shape out of a white paper plate- children glue on a red triangle and white cotton balls and a popsicle stick.
St Nicholas Hat: use a template or red construction paper & white cotton balls.
Santa Claus Thank You letter: Instead of a “wish list” for Santa, ask children to write Santa a “thank you” letter!
Christmas Ornaments: Have children make candy cane, stocking or santa ornaments to hang on a Christmas tree at church!
Class Decor: Have children help decorate the classroom or areas of the church for the holiday season, decorating a tree etc!
St Nicholas Coloring Pages
Orange Clementines, Gold chocolate coins or santas, candy canes, milk + cookies.
Enjoy the lesson! Feel free to submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org Love seeing lessons come to life and each community