Day 5 of the 12 Days of Home for the Holidays! Welcome Laura Bray

Laura is a crafter extraordinaire.  I was checking out her blog and saw a fabulous fabric cake she had made.  She is truly gifted.  I know Laura through the Fiskateers.  As a Certified Fiskars Demonstrated she got the ball rolling on Fiskars Fridays.  That's how my video demos started.  She does an awesome job inspiring others. 

Laura Bray is a wife, mother, professional craft designer and Creative Nostalgia lifestyle expert. Visit her blog for creative tips and tricks for celebrating the holidays in nostalgic style with modern flair. .  I love the design on her blog.  Very retro!

Welcome Laura Bray

The Feast of St. Nicholas

Why did you get presents so early? It’s not Christmas yet! Why were your shoes filled with candy, nuts, oranges and small gifts? These are the questions I was asked as a child when I would arrive at school every December 6, excitedly telling everyone that St. Nicholas had been to my house the night before and left treats in my shoes.

I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio in a Catholic family. We had German roots and one of our family traditions from the “old country” was to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas is the historical figure (he was a bishop who lived in 240-346 AD) upon whom Santa Claus is based on. On the eve of his feast day (December 6) we always left our shoes out in the living room. Overnight, St. Nicholas would visit and fill our shoes with a very small gifts, chocolates, nuts and fruit. We always felt so special because we were the only children in our school who celebrated the event.

My mother carried the tradition on for years. Even when we moved to California. Even when I grew-up and moved an hour away to go to college. She garnered some curious stares from my college roommate one day, early in December, when she came to visit me. I left the room for a moment and my roommate stared in wonder as my mom quickly jumped up and pulled presents and candy from her purse and then stuffed my shoes with them.

As an adult, I wonder why I never questioned the St. Nick versus Santa Claus idea. Adult logic would have asking questions like, “Aren’t they the same person?” “Who is real, Santa or St. Nick?” But my little, innocent mind was just too excited about the fact that we had our own, special relationship with St. Nick to get intellectual about it.

Now I continue our family tradition. To me, it’s the beginning of the Christmas season. I tell my daughter about St. Nicholas from a historical standpoint. I can’t find chocolates that are wrapped like St. Nicolas the bishop, so I doctor up Santa Clause chocolates with paper mitre hats and pipe cleaner crosiers and I stuff her shoes with small goodies. I love to see how special she feels because, once again, she is the only one in her class to celebrate the holiday. And, like me, she never questions or gets confused about the St. Nick/Santa Claus factor. It must be the magic of the holiday season.

Laura Bray
Craft Designer

I loved reliving my special times of celebrating December 6th.  When we lived in Germany we would put our shoes outside the door.  If you had been good it was filled with candy and nuts.  If you were not good then you got switches.  I was always good, but one year my brother....well, let's say his shoes were filled with switches.  (FYI:  mom and day gave him candy later!)    Thank you Laura for bringing back my childhood memories.  It's not too late to start with your children or grandchildren.  It is a lot of fun.

I want to encourage you if you are looking for unique gift this holiday season visit Laura's online shop at
Check in tomorrow for another great guest.


  1. Oh that's so fun! Thank you for sharing!...Nancy :o)

  2. Thank you for sharing you family's tradition. I have heard of this tradition and have always loved it.

    I was a tad surprised when I say your name. My niece's name is Lauren Bray. Bray is my maiden name :)

  3. That is such a cool tradition! Thank you so much for sharing that.

  4. Thanks for the opportunity to share my family's tradition with everyone today!

  5. Laura,
    I love the way you turned the Santa Claus chocolates into St. Nicolas the bishop! And your mom's great - sneaking back to put gifts into you shoes when you were in college.


  6. What a wonderful family tradition and thanks for sharing your story :) Happy Holidays.

  7. Thanks for bringing back a fun memory! We did that in my first grade class.

  8. That is a very special tradition, thanks for sharing Laura

  9. What wonderful celebrations for you and your daughter.
    Merry Christmas


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