The St. Nicholas Tradition in Poland and a Way to Teach Your Children about Holiday Customs Around the World

Ed Gawlinski wrote to me about his family’s holiday traditions. His letter shows how you can be creative and expose your children to many different customs around the world at this time of year…


The Polish Custom is for Saint Nicholas (świętego Mikołaja) to bring children presents on December 6th …. The traditions that go with this parallel those in Germany, Austria, and elsewhere in Europe. I found a short poem for Saint Nicholas that you might enjoy.

“On St. Nicholas Day,
The band of children waits;
For the good cookie he brings,
But for the naughty a switch that stings.”

Na świętego Mikołaja,
czeka dzieci cała zgraja,
Da posłusznym ciasteczko,
Złe przekropi różeczką.

I also have a story about Saint Nicholas. We would give our kids little gifts on Saint Nichols Day, Saint Lucia Day, Three Kings Day, etc. Our son-in-law referred to this as the 45 days of Gawlinski Christmas… One year as Saint Nichols day approached our second child, Allison was not being well behaved. She didn’t get a Saint Nicholas day present that morning. By noon, we had found where St. Nick hid the present. From then on, until well after Christmas, she was the best behaved little girl you ever saw.

Edward M. Gawlinski

Giving little gifts on the different international holidays gives you an opportunity to explain to kids how people do things differently around the world. You could also give a gift for a day of Chanukah and the Indian festival of Diwali (if you don’t celebrate these holidays already).

Feel free to comment below or email me to share your holiday customs with us!


This article was posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 at 2:52 pm and is filed under Austria, Belgium, Christmas Poems, Countries & Cultures, Customs and Traditions, Epiphany, Holidays Around the World, Kings Day, Languages, Poetry, Poland, Polish, St. Lucia's Day, St. Nicholas Day, Sweden. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “The St. Nicholas Tradition in Poland and a Way to Teach Your Children about Holiday Customs Around the World”

  1. Ed Gawlinski Says:

    I found a website about Saint Nicholas Customs around the world that I’m sure people interested in this website would also find interesting.


  2. Ed Gawlinski Says:

    For anyone interested in Polish Christmas Customs, I recommend the website

    Teaching children Polish language and culture on Saturday monrings has been a long tradition in the United States and other countries to which Poles have immigrated.

    I went to a Saturday Morning Polish Language school in Brooklyn, New York. Unfortunately, when I started I was much too old for the beginner’s class and not proficient enough for the age suitable class. This was not a very successful experience for me.

    Twenty plus years ago I tried to teach my children Polish, but did not have the resources to be successful in that. The various conflicting priorities also mitagated against success there. However, I have no regrets since they were successful in school, have an appreciation of various languages and culture, and are happy adults.

    I now have a four month old grand daughter and have started providing her with books in Polish, German, and Swedish (my wife’s ethinic background is Swedish and German). I am looking for resources to help pass on some of our cultural and language traditions. This website is a very valuable one and I appreciate Lisa’s work in providing this resource.

    Maybe some of the other readers might have additional suggestions or can share some of their experiences.


  3. Guy Says:

    I need a song or mothers day in polish with music…any ideas? This is for a polish school in the US

Leave a Reply