Tradition #1: Saint Nicholas Shoe Gifts
I spent 18 months in the Netherlands as a missionary for my church, and I learned to love so many things about the Dutch people and their traditions! I really wanted to carry some of my experiences there over to my family. So, my husband and I decided before we ever had kids that we’d adopt the tradition of filling kids’ shoes with little treats and gifts on December 5, also known as Sinterklaas Dag or Saint Nicholas Day. In the Netherlands, children put their shoes out on the evening of December 5, and Saint Nicholas fills them with fun surprises.
In our family, the kids find their shoes filled on the morning of December 5. I always include a new pair of pajamas as one of their gifts. That way they have the rest of the month to wear them before Christmas. It’s a really fun way to kick off the month of giving, and it wouldn’t feel like the holidays at our house without this fun tradition!
This year, my girls have new slippers on their Christmas wish list, so I’m going to add a new element of surprise by replacing the shoes they lay out with these adorable slippers from Payless. They’ll love the super soft inside and the bright, sparkly outside of these slippers. They’re perfect!
Tradition #2: Surprise Shoe Messages
I love leaving surprise notes for my kids to find – under their pillow, in their lunch bag … and on the soles of their shoes! I love imagining them finding their message as they sit down for story time at school or as they put their shoes on to go outside to play.
Most shoe soles are black or dark, so finding the right pen to write your message can be tricky. I’ve actually found white out to be the best option. It goes on easily, and stays for just the right amount of time. I like the message to wear off eventually because it gives me an opportunity to surprise them with a new note.
This is my third-grader discovering her most recent message on her new Payless sneakers. It was really sweet to watch her face light up as she went from one shoe to the next reading my short, but heartfelt message. I hope she knows I’m thinking of her every time she notices her little shoes notes.
Tradition #3: The Birthday Fairy
This is a relatively new tradition in our family, and the idea came from here. The birthday kid chooses one of their favorite shoes to put next to their bed on the night before their big day. Then the Birthday Fairy comes and fills it up with a quarter for every year that they are old.
I knew my kids would love this tradition because they love the idea of the Tooth Fairy. They know the truth about the Tooth Fairy, but they still like to pretend. So, it was fun to tell my daughter on the eve of her last birthday that she’d find a surprise in her shoe from the “Birthday Fairy” the next day. She had all kinds of questions after that announcement, but I didn’t give any clues. She came running in our room the next morning like she’d won the lottery! I’m thinking when the kids get older, I (I mean the Birthday Fairy) may start leaving dollar bills in place of quarters. It was cute to see which shoe my daughter chose as her favorite to put out on her birthday eve. She usually gets more excited about her bright sneakers or sandals, but this time she choose her “high heels” (as she calls them) from Payless. They happen to be my favorite shoes to see her in too. She looks absolutely adorable! I hope I’ve given you some new and novel ideas of traditions to start in your own family. Feel free to put your own twist, much like I have, on these fun shoe traditions and make them your own.
If you need the perfect shoes in order to execute any of these shoe traditions, then I’d highly recommend Payless. They have a huge variety of shoes at affordable prices, and they’re always on-trend and stylish. Payless also has a great Pinterest page with all kinds of fun shoe inspiration! Check it out here: Payless on Pinterest