It’s Nikolaus day!
Even though I live in the U.K., I like to celebrate St Nikolaus day with my children in the same way I would were we to live in Germany. I grew up with the tradition of putting my welly boot outside the front door during the night of 5 December, in hopes that St Nikolaus would stop by on his sleigh and drop off some sweets and perhaps a small present. Last night, my kids put their wellies by our fireplace alongside a little treat…
…and hoped for the best. Inevitably, they watched out of the window half the night to see if there was a sleigh, or even simply sleigh marks on the lawn (there’s no snow, so the sleigh marks would be pretty spectacular!). Inevitably, they rose even earlier than normal to race downstairs and see if the mysterious, red-coated Saint had indeed made the journey and….
Success. It’s such a joy to see their little faces aglow and it sweetens the Advent season and waiting for Christmas no end (pun intended).
My favourite memories of St Nikolaus day? Well, I have two. On one occasion, St Nikolaus didn’t just bring sweet treats, but actual snow. So much so in fact that the primary school closed and Mum took me sledging. A magical day!
The other occasion is even more mysterious. I six and was just beginning to doubt the veracity of the man and the event, but I wisely held my tongue. (Amazing how kids have an innate ability to sit on the fence when it comes to sweet traditions, right?) Well, that night, a book appeared alongside the sweets in my welly. A dedication had been written in the book ~ it said, “From the Unknown Nikolaus.” I was unbelievably excited and the provenance of the book remained a mystery. Today, I have an idea, of course, but I still remember the magic and the excitement.