My father is Hungarian. He moved here in the 50's before the Hungarian Revolution broke out and with him he brought the tradition of St. Nicholas Day. December 6th was more exciting to me than Christmas. This is the day that I would wake up to see my brightly polished shoes sitting on the window sill full of treats. I loved it. I loved the Christmas Angels too, but more on that later.
So now that we have two little ones, it is so exciting to me to share this tradition with my children. They began polishing their shoes two days ago and this morning they woke up to find them full of Christmas oranges, a bundle of golden nuts (roasting chestnuts wrapped in gold paper), a candy cane, scarves and hats, and a few little toys. Since we were having a party for our friends today, their children's shoes magically appeared on our window sill as well, also full of goodies. And just so our children knew which way he came from, there was a trail of golden stars that went from the window sill all the way to the back door.
I have been pondering all day why this celebration is so special to me. Maybe it's because it isn't surrounded by all the pressure and hoopla that Christmas is (this is not the time for gift gluttony), maybe it's because St. Nicholas was a real saint and I can truly believe in him or maybe it is just the magical idea of this kind old man who fills the shoes of children while they are asleep with wonderful little presents. Whatever it is, all 7 children and 8 adults had a wonderful time today. This is a beautiful tradition to start with your family if you are not already doing it. Your kids will love it!
Here are the words to a song we sang as we played our St. Nicholas game...
"Kind old man St. Nicholas Dear
please come to my house this year
Here's some straw and here's some hay
For your little donkey grey
Please put something in my shoe
I've been good the whole year through..."