We might have been born and raised on a mountain top, or on a beach by the ocean, or maybe in the Pampas, the Tropics, or Artic. We might have different celebrations and festivities, but no matter what stories we are told as children, what ritual moments we share with our close ones, these are the true gifts that stay with us forever.
I cherish memories of receiving Christmas presents from the Christ Child (Niño Dios) on Christmas Day, December 25th, in my native Colombia. My niece, Eliana, was born in Holland and when she was little she received presents from Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas).
Saint Nicholas’ feast day is December 6th. In Holland, the day before, on December 5th, children leave clogs or shoes out for St. Nicholas which they fill with hay or carrots for his white horse*. In return, Saint Nicholas replaces the children’s gifts with small gifts and sweets of his own. Did you know that the story of Santa Claus begins with Saint Nicholas?
Today, making origami gifts and ornaments has become a Christmas tradition at my home. I’m happy to share this origami St. Nicholas, of my own design, in the following video tutorial. This model could also be a Father Christmas, or Santa Claus!
Tips and Suggestions to Make this Origami Saint Nicholas
- Use a square piece of paper –red on one side and white on the other side.
- Use a square with sides double the size of the finished Saint Nicholas. For a model 3 inches tall (7.5 cm) use a square 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm).
- Thin paper –like “Kami” known in the US as “origami paper”, works well.
- Make this Saint Nicholas with thicker paper (e.g. watercolor) using “wet-folding” techniques.
Wet-folding involves applying water to the paper during the folding process. Lightly dampening the paper makes it easier to manipulate and model, and allows for the formation of both soft and sharp creases. When dry, the model will retain its shape.
Here is how to use the wet-folding technique to make this Saint Nicholas
- Use red acrylic paint to color one side of 90lb watercolor paper.
- Let dry, then cut a square.
- With a clean damp sponge or a cloth, lightly moisten the paper on both sides and start folding.
- You will need to experiment as you fold so the paper is not too wet or too dry. But I would err on the side of not dampening too much.
- You might want to re-apply water as you go on with your folding.
And now it’s your turn! Close your eyes for a moment and remember your family traditions. What was significant for you on the gift-giving holiday? Who brought you presents? Share with us as a comment.
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* The white origami horse on the first photo was designed by John Montroll. Diagrams found in his book ‘Horses in Origami’.