Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy St. Nicholas day!

In our tradition St. Nick comes the night of December 6th and leaves something for the good kids, in their polished shoes prepared by the door... hmm... sounds familiar?

That's because Santa Claus is really St. Nicholas! Somewhat in the Western civilizations St. Nick was 'pushed' to Christmas and thus stockings are hanged on Christmas Eve. Kids have been polishing their shoes and leaving them by the door so the Saint will drop something for them. If they've been nice - a small gift (usually fruits and chocolates) will wait for them in the morning. If they've been naughty - a silver stick will be there instead.

A few years back my mom, exasperated with a class of elementary school, brought each of them a gift on St. Nicholas: a silver stick, wrapped nicely in cellophane with a tag. Apparently they were completely taken aback: nobody before had ever brought them the stick!

And what happens in our culture at Christmas? Father Christmas arrives with toys - no reindeers, though, and I simply cannot recall if 'our' Father Christmas lives at the North Pole or not (I recall rather a Nordic country - Finland or so).

The funniest part? Because the communists declared Christmas kind of illegal (any religious celebration was viewed as retrograde and 'bad for the new society'...) people invented instead a Father Frost - which we were to celebrate on New Year's Eve. The result? Kids will receive gifts (nothing fancy, but gifts nonetheless) 3 times: on St. Nicholas, on Christmas, and on New Year's Eve!

And with no link to St. Nick whatsoever - today I am 'gifting' you the casual version of 'Briana'; or as casual as I can go (apparently no matter how casual I get the high heels are a must!)


  1. As always, Alicia, I love to hear your Christmas stories related to growing up in a unique culture. Here in Acadie (northern New Brunswick... Canada, for your many non-Canadian readers!), many cultures... French, Irish, Scottish, Mi'kmaq (aboriginal)... combined to produce an interesting mix of Christmas and New Year lore.

    I grew up in a French-speaking family, but I had many homes across Canada. Wherever we found ourselves (one year in a motel room as we awaited a PMQ... military residence), my little family eagerly awaited the arrival of Père Noël, (Father Christmas), who it was well known would only come while families were at Midnight Mass! The drive home from church in the middle of the night was exciting, but tempered with sleepiness and trepidation... had we been "good enough" to expect some presents under the tree?

    We were never disappointed... Pére Noël was a generous and forgiving representative of God's love for his errant children! As we hugged a new doll, or played with a game, we were basking in the care and concern of our dear parents, Père Noël's knowing accomplices.

    "Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année": Joyous Christmas and a Good Year to all those who will share Christmas with you, both those you will hug in person, and those you will hug in thought, or in remembrance. xoxo

    1. Oh, Monique, your comments are a joy! Thanks for sharing your traditions - it's always lovely to learn more about friends!

      Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année to you and your loved ones too!
      In Romanian I would wish you 'Craciun Fericit!' :)

  2. P.S. Alicia, I love that you consider high heels a necessity with every outfit! I say: If you've got it, flaunt it, girl!

  3. Craciun Fericit!

    You are amazing!! Sharing with us on St. Nicholas day is so very thoughtful, and it's fun to learn about the silver sticks and your mom's funny surprise for her mischievous class :)

    Once Père Noël visited my sister and I, wonderfully arriving as we were at midnight mass, just as "A Half-Baked Notion" shared. My sister and I believed after that with all our hearts!

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Thank you, Rita! You are wonderful :)

      Merry Christmas and a season full of joy!

  4. Hello !
    Dacă te uiţi la fotografiile făcute atunci , o să (re)vezi că fiecare nuieluşă ( care era, de fapt, un beţişor subţire , de vreo 25 cm de la sunătoarea culeasă de mine peste vară !) avea ataşată o bomboană !
    Voiam ca băieţii --erau 24 !-- să priceapă că Moşul nu le apreciază năzdrăvăniile, dar speră în mai bine din partea lor .


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