Return to HOME PAGE Order The Secret of St. Nicholas The Secret of St. Nicholas on Tour Christmas Traditions Fun Activities!! Links and Resources Contact Us About the Author and Illustrator of The Secret of St. Nicholas


Lessons & Study Questions using The Secret of St. Nicholas

Preschool-Kindergarten: Stocking with gold coins inside

Objective: Learn about St. Nicholas

1. Read The Secret of St. Nicholas.
2. Discuss St. Nicholas. What do we usually call St. Nicholas nowadays? (Santa Claus)
How is Santa Claus like St. Nicholas? (stockings, comes secretly at night, surprises us, red clothing, old man with beard, loves children)
3. Activity: Make a stocking from two paper stockings stapled together at the top. Decorate the top stocking. Glue 3 gold foil wrapped candy coins inside. Top lifts to reveal surprise.

Ages 6-7: Doing good deeds in secret

Objective: Learn the joy of helping others

1. Read The Secret of St. Nicholas.
2. Discuss doing good deeds in secret. Think of examples in the classroom or school. How does it makes the doer and the recipient feel?
3. Activity: Hang a stocking beside a container holding cut-out paper shaped as gold coins or bags of gold.
Have children write down secret good deed (short phrase, only verb and object is fine) they do at school and drop in the stocking. At the end of the day/week, count and read the good deeds aloud. Praise class.

Ages 8-9: What is enough?

Objective: Encourage generosity and thankfulness

1. Discuss and list: What makes us happy? What do commercials or advertisements say will make us happy? Why do they say that? What does Jesus say will make us happy? Why does He say that?

2. Read The Secret of St. Nicholas.

3. Activity: In pairs or teams, find each place the book talks about “what is enough” for Nicholas. Nicholas had to make a hard choice. In the end, what was enough for Nicholas?

Ages 10-11: The Power of Surprise: Secret good deeds like St. Nicholas

Objective: Foster the habit of encouragement

1. Discuss how good deeds can surprise someone. “Random acts of kindness” or “Pass it on” ideas. Why are these acts so powerful? (Not earned or “deserved”, not expected.)

2. Read The Secret of St. Nicholas.

3. Activity: Surprise each other with a compliment. Each child draws a piece of paper with the name of a classmate and writes something fairly specific they like or admire about that person. (Ban the word nice. It’s too general.) Place papers in a stocking. Teacher reads them as they are deposited to make sure the compliments make sense and are complimentary. Read aloud or distributes to recipients. The goodwill generated can be remarkable.

Discussion questions for older or mixed age groups:

Who were your favorite characters? Why?
Did you feel angry or impatient with any characters? Why?
How was unconditional love expressed in this story?
What characters practiced forgiveness in this story?
Compare and contrast this story with the parable of the Prodigal son.
What is “enough” in life? “Enough” is mentioned beginning with the first page. What was enough for Nicholas at different times? Why? What ultimately makes us happy?
Discuss the slavery in this story. Define slavery. Has slavery been different at different times and places? Has slavery changed? Is there slavery in the world today? What can be done about it?

Was Nicholas a hero? Discuss different types of heroes e.g. popular, unsung. Were any other characters heroes?
Discuss the daughters’ situation in this story. Could the daughters have done something differently? Were they weak/passive? Was it an accident that Nicholas ran into the youngest daughter after the storm? Discuss how girls’ and women’s opportunities/lives vary in other cultures and time periods.

How many things surprised you in this book? Count them.
What was considered valuable by the characters? Did that change?