Tuesday, December 04, 2007

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas

We have celebrated St. Nicholas Day at our house for several years now. There are many different traditions but this is what we do...
On the night of December 5th, the girls and Benjamin put an empty shoe by the fireplace. They put carrots and hay (if we have it) inside for St. Nicholas' horse.

The following morning they find the carrots and hay gone, and their shoes filled with small gifts and candy!

Chocolate Santas

Milk chocolate Squares

Gold chocolate coins

I also found this fun little cardboard slice of cheese.

With chocolate mice inside! I'm not a fan of mice, but the girls and Benjamin have watched the new movie, Ratatouille all week so they will appreciate them. :0)

Do you celebrate St. Nicholas Day at your house?


Anonymous said...

How awesome. I am going to right this down in my ideas for next year. I would have never thought of this. I have been really interested this year in learning about the traditions this time of year and where and why they started. I love it. It is a simple but very fun tradition you have.


Missy said...

how fun :) i remember when my daughter was yound and in school she learned about different holiday traditions. she came home and announced "we need to put our shoes outside" she went on to explain the holiday to me. i had completely forgotton about that.

enjoy your holiday season!


Cathy said...

Never heard of that Kelli, but such a cute thing to do, sort of like getting stocking surprises. :o)

Unknown said...

Sounds like fun! No, we do not but we always had Belsnickle growing up. "Belsnickle would travel the Pennsylvania countryside ringing his bell looking for good children to give out his small gifts of cakes and nuts to. If Belsnickle came across a child who had not been behaving in the past year, he would warn the child to be good or else he might give them a smack with his rod." We looked forward to this every year and did this with our cousins!

Unknown said...

What a lovely tradition. I am sorry to say that when my children were growing up we did not celebrate the day. Seeing all the lovely things that you found makes me wish that I had.

dot said...

Cute post! No Tony and I do not celebrate but we'd love some of that candy!

Anonymous said...

We lived in Holland for 3 years and we celebrated it then. The dutch keep their holy Christmas day seperate from their gift giving day-hence, St. Nikkolaus(that's how they spell it) Day is their gift giving day. Only in Holland, the children put their wooden shoes out for gifts.
One year when we lived their, our Cocker Spaniel had 4 puppies during the wee morning hours on St. Nikkolaus Day and when our 3 y.o. woke up, she thought that was her present!!!!

Anonymous said...

That is a really nice tradition to do. I have not heard of that one.

Just Mom said...

My son is only 4, so this will be the second year we celebrate St. Nicholas Day.

I wasn't going to do candy this year because he still has all those sweets from Halloween, but those chocolate santas are so cute.

Last year, all I did was read to him about the real St. Nicholas and have him color some pages I found online. We will do that again this year, as well as let him open a small gift.

The Hamilton's said...

What a neat idea! I am going to have to remember this one! So cool!

CONNIE W said...

Your post reminded me of when St. Nicholas visited us as children. Now my grandchildren are visited by him. One of them has a birthday on St. Nicholas Day and was almost named Nicholas for his middle name for that reason.

Unknown said...

We do not ... but as I told Beck at "Frog and Toad are Friends" I feel as if we missed out. Both our families are pure German so I can't figure out why and how we missed it,but we did.

I used to do it for my 3rd graders though, as a kick off of how other lands celebrated Christmas. They loved it!

Tina Leigh said...

I've never heard of this but its a really cute idea & little celebration.

Tracy said...

No, we never have, but this is a cute idea!

Amber said...

Kelli-when I lived in Holland we did this. They would have a big parade and St. Nicholas would come and throw candy, also. It is something I still remember even though it was 20 years ago. I lived there when I was 4-6 years old.

I will have to do this with my children. It is always neat studying different cultures.

Paula said...

What delightful little gifts and a wonderful family tradition!

Mrs. C

Heather said...

What a GREAT idea!! That is fun and then it helps keep the focus on Jesus the rest of December!!

Kelly @ Growing.Learning.Playing. said...

Oh my! Kelli, I am so glad you reminded me about St. Nicholas Day. LOL I forgot! We always did it growing up because my mom wanted us to carry over our German roots. I do it with my own children now, but I always forget about it until the night before or day of.
Girlfriend, as always, I love your blog. When I grow up, I want to be like you.

Anonymous said...

Have never heard of it,but cute idea.To bad my babys are all grown.

Rebecca said...

I am Dutch so I am VERY familiar with St. Nicholas Day. I am trying to get my side of the family (the van der Jagt side) to celebrate on Dec. 5th in order to lessen the CHAOS of seeing two different extended families AND celebrating within our OWN family on Christmas day. We'll see how that goes...

Did you special order those darling candies from somewhere? I love the squares that have a vintage look to them...

Lynne said...

Sounds like a wonderful tradition, but my dog would eat the carrots and probably the shoe also!

I love the chocolate mice and the squares with the old fashioned pictures-where did you find them?

Jennifer said...

How neat! I've never heard of this day before, I'm going right now to google it more :o)

I can't wait to have kids so that we can have this fun tradition as well!

Hope you are having a wonderful week Kelli.

Anita said...

Hi Kelli!

Don't forget the milk for Santa's reindeer! I am sure it will be thirsty when Santa comes to your home tonight! ;-))

Well, we will put my TILDA Christmas stockings in our guest room and I hope that Santa will have left some goodies when I wake up tomorrow morning!

Have a great evening!

Hugs, Anita

TJ said...

I feel like I had heard of this, but many years ago. Never celebrated it, but I think that will change next December. My kids would love it and Target has great little candies and toys for this.


Storybook Woods said...

What a perfect day. We are having ours this weekend. Your children will always remember this day and what a wonderful mama they have. Clarice

SouthernBell said...

That's so fun! Thanks for sharing.

Susie said...

What an absolutely delightful tradition Kelli!
I'm sure that it's one your children will remember and carry on with their own children.
Thanks for stopping in to visit me. I hope to resume regular blogging before too long.

Anonymous said...

How sweet of you to keep this old custom alive. Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on the 5th, and on the 6th in the morning the good children find nuts, oranges, and chocolates in their shoes - do not forget the mandatory birch to be used for disciplinary measures during the coming year. December 4, by the way, is dedicated to Barbara, the patron saint of miners. Here is a clip of my home town where Saint Nicholas arrives in a boat, by himself, without his side kick, the "Krampus", sometimes also called "Black Peter".

Thanks again, Kelli.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my URL to Saint Nicholas in his boat got cut off. I give it another try:


And here are pictures of a parade featuring the horrible "Krampus":


I hope it works. Thanks again.

Lila Rostenberg said...

Hi Kelli!
I have posted about doing this too! We did this when my daughter was young and are doing it tonight with my granddaughter. I love the
photos you have posted!

Gena said...

What a wonderful idea. We have never celebrated that day, but I think we will next year.

You found some really cute gifts!

ohiofarmgirl said...

Sounds like a fun traditon. We don't celebrate it but maybe someday when I have grandchildren I will start. Dianntha

Cynthia said...

What a great idea! I have never heard about this. I will be participating next year.
Enjoy your evening!

Julie said...

What a great tradition when you have young kids. Although I have of course heard of St.Nicholas Day I have never done this.


Sandra said...

I had never heard of it and don't celebrate it.

Loved your post though, I may just start celebrating St. Nicholas day every year :)

Jodi said...

Well - tonight's the night! Happy St. Nicholas Day Eve! ;o)

Patty said...

lovely tradition Kelli

Naturegirl said...

I enjoyed reading this post and seeing a family tradition that I am sure your children remember for all time. My celebration on Dec. 5th is somewhat different but one also filled with memories that I hold dearly! hugs NG

MamaBirdEmma said...

Hi Kelli!

Both my husband and I grew up celebrating St. Nicholas Day and we are now happy to pass tht tradition on with our children! I found a website (www.stnicholascenter.com) that has a lot of crafts ideas and printables as well as a store. I bought one of the St. Nicholas Cookie cutters they sell and really enjoyed making some iced sugar cookies for our celebration this year!

Linda said...

Although we live in Holland, where st. Nick is a BIG thing, really.. we don't celebrate it..

Not because of the usual 'he's a catholic saint and we're christians', but because of the filthy swing people have given the party in the 1800's.

I'm sure such a thing would never be celebrated in the USA, but here in the Netherlands, st. Nick is accompanied by a whole army of 'black pete's'.... or to talk plain english.... negro slaves.

My husband is black, so you see how this is a painful thing. The Dutch don't get it though.. they make up all kinds of excuses.. 'the petes get paid', or 'they're not negroes, they got black going through the chimney' (uhh yeah, that would explain their afro, big lips and funny accent.......)

After we've done a lot of study on slavery and the black holocaust, we could never -with a clear consience- celebrate this party inspite of what my kids' ancestors have been through.. 'cause I can tell one thing.. when the africans were on steamships (like st. Nicks) they WEREN'T dancing and singing and wearing pretty clothes....!!

The sad thing is.. the REAL st. Nick never had any slaves! Someone found in neccesary, in 1800, to write a book called 'st. Nick and his servant'.. and somehow the people that already celebrated it (without the slaves) found that funny and stuck to it.. then, the canadians (after the war, in 1946) helped organise the first 'arrival of the saint' and thought.. 'hey, that black pete is fun.. you know what's even more fun? a whole ARMY of black pete's'! *lol*

So................. no 'sinterklaas' for us ;)

Priscilla said...

Hi Kelli,
What a wonderful idea, I would be interested to hear how your tradition started? It reminds me of placing cookies and mince pies and carrots for rudolf and santa on christmas eve, that santa eats of course before he goes back up the chimmney......

Priscilla x

Susan P. said...

Oh my goodness, we never did this but I sure wish we had. Believe it or not I have never even heard of St. Nicholas Day! Maybe it's something I can do with my future grandchildren! Such fun:o)

Myrna said...

What a "sceet" tradition. I'sure the children enjoyed that one!The little mice in the cheese are too cute!

You always have the most fun at your house~

Lena said...

Good morning Kelli,
No we don't celebrate it, but your post and my friend Darla's post this morning, sure do make me wish that I had, when my son was small. It's a charming tradition.
I love the cheese box and mice. Perfectly suited to a week of Ratatouille!
I hope your day is happy today!

Symea said...

Hi Kelli,
I loved St. Nikolaus visiting us when I was a child :)
Dec. 6th was the birthday of my grandpa so we always celebrated St. Nikolaus in my grandparents house. In the evening my uncle was disguised as St. Nikolaus and gave us chocolate santas and small gifts.

A nice idea to celebrate it with your kids.
I wondered about the german Riegelein sweets :)

blessedmomof3 said...

You have a very delightful blog. I really enjoyed reading about your Christmas tradition. I bet your children have a lot of fun with this.


... said...

no, we don't. i'm not sure i've heard of it. or if i did, i thought it was the same as Christmas day. what are it's origins?

it sounds like a fun thing to do.

tchrmom said...

My children look forward to St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th each year. My mil who is from Germany started the tradition and would pass along chocolate advent calendars to give on that day along with other little gifts. Last year was our only year to miss and I felt so guilty.

When we have Christmas with my husband's side of the family, the kids look forward to receiving gifts from their grandparents; they enjoy receiving the first few gifts but they really look forward to a personal scavenger hunt to find their really big gift from Omie and Opa. The grandparents write clues and hide them all over the house. This is the most fun for everyone!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just read this post and I am Dutch and there are a few things that I have to say:
It is called the feast of Sinterklaas, all people in The Netherlands celebrate it, Christians alike, because Sinterklaas isn't looked at as a Catholic saint anymore, he is for all the people !! The fact that he has black helpers comes from the time that Morish servants helped the bishop and it has nothing to do with negro slaves and in a tolerant country like The Netherlands people would be protesting if this was the case, but we have a lot of negro people in The Netherlands and they too celebrate Sinterklaas. It's a harmless feast for children !! The big evening is the 5th when in the evening Sinterklaas comes to the homes and leaves presents. Before the 5th he comes into the country with a steamboat from Spain and between his coming into the country on about the 21st of November and the 5th of December, children are alowed to put their shoes out on several weekends, then they get little sweets and on the 5th they receive bigger presents. I hope I haven't offended anyone, but I just wanted to explain how we celebrate here ; )
I just found your log, so that is why I'm so late ; )