St. Nikolas & Shoes - Christmas Around the World for Kids Activities - Austria

The fourth activity in our Christmas Around the World for Kids series is a St. Nikolas tradition from Austria!  

Austria is a small country in Europe:

Like Germany and many other nearby countries, children in Austria often get two sets of gifts: one on Christmas from Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) and one on December 6th from St. Nikolas.

St. Nikolas was born in the year 270 to a rich family. He gave up his family's wealth and chose to be a monk and priest, living a life of kindness and generosity. He is even said to have surprised children with gifts and treats in their shoes. Celebrating his feast day has become part of the Christmas season in Austria, Germany, and many other European countries.

As part of the celebrations, many children clean a shoe (or sometimes use a stocking) and leave it near a door or window on December 5th when they go to bed. On December 6th, they usually wake up to find small gifts and treats in their shoes!  

In some homes "St. Nikolas" visits on the 5th to find out if children have been good or not! Children might clean their rooms and memorize poems or songs to prepare for the visit. St. Nikolas might read a list of the child's good and bad deeds or ask him/her to sing or recite a verse.  He is often accompanied by a more scary, furry creature with horns called the Krampus who takes treats and punishes bad children. In some parts of Austria, there are even Krampus Parades on December 5th (the night before your visit from St. Nikolas)!

Austria's Activity for Christmas Around the World for Kids:

To celebrate this tradition, our "visit" to Austria is going to include cleaning our rooms and setting out a shoe for treats. I won't lie--I'm pretty excited about this one! I want to do it on the 5th/6th of December, so I'm writing about this one before we actually do it, in case you want to join in this weekend too! After they clean their bedrooms, my kids can choose a shoe to set out for treats. I'm sure they'll enjoy finding a few goodies on the 6th! (And I'll try to update this post with pictures of the actual shoes this weekend!)

We are learning about Christmas around the world this year with 12 different activities--this was the fourth one!  I would LOVE if you joined us!! I will be linking all the activities to THIS PAGE, so you can pick and choose which to do. I'll be putting up a new one each week day when December starts--there are only two left in the series this year!

And if you're looking for more homeschool unit studies, be sure to check out our growing collection here!

Happy Educating,
Carla & the kids who don't sit still!