Anselm Grün’s The Legend of Saint Nicholas introduces children to the life and miracles of one of history’s most beloved saints.

Celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on December 6 with your young readers when you create this lovely Christmas ornament.

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  • Markers or other coloring utensils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • String
  • Cotton balls
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Saint Nicholas template
  • Plastic spoon

Step 1: Print out and color Saint Nicholas template.

Step 2: Cut out each of the colored pieces of the Saint Nicholas template.

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Step 3: Flip the “front” Saint Nicholas template over and place the spoon on the back of the template so that the curved convex outside of the spoon is where Saint Nicholas’s head would be. Tape the spoon in place. Flip the template over and adjust as needed.

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Step 4: Cut a small slit in the upper corner of Saint Nicholas’s right sleeve. Make the hole just big enough so that the end of the right hand will tuck into the sleeve and give the appearance that the hand is coming out of his sleeve. Flip the template over and tape the end of the right hand (that is coming through the hole you just made) down to secure it in place.

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Step 5: Cut the left hand along the line that connects the thumb to the hand. (Be careful not to cut the thumb all the way off jut to the end of the line.) Then take the main part of the hand and fold it along the dotted line. Tape the wrist portion to the back of the left sleeve to secure it in place.

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Step 6: Apply a thin strip of glue all around the back edges of your Saint Nicholas front template except for the bottom portion (beneath the outer robe). Then place the Saint Nicholas back template colored-side-out on the glue. Align the edges and press into the glue to secure it in place.

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Step 7: Take the front of Saint Nicholas’s hat and flip it over so you are looking at the white non-colored side. Take a piece of ribbon and tie a knot at the end. Then tape the knotted end of the ribbon to the back (non-colored side) of the front hat template. Then apply glue to the back of the top four sides of the hat. Then press the back hat template to the glued top of the hat front template so that you cover up and further secure the knotted end of the string. Make sure the string comes out of the top of the hat, creating a nice little loop to hang the ornament by. Also make sure you don’t glue the hat completely together — you will want to leave a pocket at the bottom of the hat for Saint Nicholas’s head.

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Step 8: Fold together the edges of the bottom section of Saint Nicholas’s body (the part you did not glue). Tape the ends together. (Note: reaching up into Saint Nicholas and pressing the middle of each side will make the paper bow up a little bit, making it easier to get the oval shape you want.) Do this to both sides of the bottom of Saint Nicholas. This will will allow Saint Nicholas to stand on his own.

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Step 9: Wrap one end of a pipe cleaner around your finger three or four times, the flatten the curl to create the spiral at the top of Saint Nicholas’s staff. Then place the staff in Saint Nicholas’s left hand, adding a little glue to secure it in place. Fold the top of the hand over the front of the cane. Then pull the thumb forward and glue it again across the cane in the opposite direction. This will make it look like Saint Nicholas is holding the cane in his hand.

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Step 10: Take Saint Nicholas’s Bag and cut along the dotted line. Place the cut piece of paper so that the top of the bag is in front of his shoulder and the bottom of the bag is behind his shoulder. Make sure to put the skinny part of the bag under Saint Nicholas’s Right hand so that it looks like he is holding the bag. Place a small amount of glue on the back of Saint Nicholas’s right shoulder and press the bottom of the bag into the glue to secure the bag in place.

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Step 11: Add glue to the face where you would like Saint Nicholas’s beard to be. Then rip tiny pieces of a cotton ball and press them into the glue until you are happy with the way his beard looks.

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Step 12. Draw two eyes on the curved part of the spoon (preferably using permanent marker) to make the visible portion of Saint Nicholas’s face.

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Step 13: Optional If you used a clear spoon (like I did) and you would like Saint Nicholas’s face to be more flesh colored, cut an oval out of tan, brown, or other colored paper that is about the same size and shape of the face; then glue it to the concave side of the spoon.

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Step 14: In the pocket you left at the bottom of the hat, apply a dab of glue before slipping the top of Saint Nicholas’s head into the hat. Press the hat onto the spoon to secure it in place.

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Wait for your creation to dry, then hang it on the tree — or stand it on the mantle above your stockings —and enjoy.

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About The Legend of Saint Nicholas:

Many stories are told about Saint Nicholas — stories about his generosity and his miracles, stories about the concern he showed for those in poverty. This warm, inviting books tells many of these stories, both familiar and lesser-known. It recounts how he ended a famine by multiplying grain from a merchant ship and how he walked on water to rescue sailors from a terrible storm. And, of course, it tells the story of how Nicholas gave his inheritance to prevent a desperate man from selling his daughters into slavery.

Anselm Grün’s simple, graceful text and Giuliano Ferri’s beautiful paintings combine to provide the perfect way to introduce young readers to the rich life of this beloved saint.