Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nikolaustag

Part of learning another language is learning some of the culture that goes along with it. For our German enrichment, and just for plain old fun, we celebrate Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day, each year.

These pictures are from last year, since I didn't share them then and I don't have this year's downloaded from the camera yet. (Strangely convenient how that worked out.) I also didn't talk about it last year, so since this is Wordless Wednesday, you can skip the chatter and just look at the pictures or you can hear me out. I'll be brief!

Empty boots go outside the door the night of December 5 (or, in some regions, December 6 — there's a charming row about it on this page in the comments; I swear I'm not the Lauren who's yelling at one of the other commenters).

Mikko was three years old last year, and he was hesitant about this whole Nikolaus thing. We later learned the confusion stemmed from some misunderstandings: He thought his boots were being stolen by this boy Nick from his preschool. He was quite surprised and pleased to open the door and find his boots still there, and indeed, filled with presents! Nick's a nice kid after all.

Digging in!

When I lived in Berlin in junior high, I always spent the night before Nikolaustag with a German friend and her family. Her mom did Nikolaustag up right! Just like us here, they also lived in a unit in a larger building so our boots (or shoes) just went in the hallway instead of outside — but Nikolaus always found us, anyway. And he never gave us switches! Woot.

Usual gifts are fruit, cookies, candies, and little trinkets — much like a stocking. Kids are theoretically supposed to shine their boots first, but fire boots don't shine very well.

I forgot about Nikolaustag till the last minute (yes, that happened again this year) so bought all my gifts at the grocery store. These were hilarious grow sponges that were slimy and disgusting and a big hit.

Cultural success! Give it a try with your kids next year (or tonight — I won't tell!).

You'll also love this week's photos on the topic of Healthy Snacking over at Natural Parents Network! (Well, of course, it is — after I show a Wordless Wednesday of giving my three-year-old a Pez dispenser. However, you can see Mikko eating something slightly more virtuous if you click on over.)

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Heather said...

What a cute Idea... I may have to try that out next year if I remember...I suffer from major mommy brain. said...

The whole thing about Nick stealing his shoes cracked me up. I was just about on the floor laughing. That is a great tradition. We tried to convince our parents once that there was a Chinese Santa Claus who would put presents in your shoes if you left them outside your bedroom door on Thursdays. We got onions.

Rachael said...

From St. Nicholas Day to the Epiphany, all things Christmas are completely legit, in my book. Just after Thanksgiving and even sometimes December 1 just seems too early. Even though I guess the first Sunday of Advent was on 11/27 this year.

Melissa said...

I'm amazed at how much he's grown since last year!

I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Such a fun tradition! This year, I'm sure Mikko's shoes were much bigger, so I bet he got more presents, right? ;-)

Darcel said...

I know my kids would love that! Looks like Mikko enjoyed it. I love how your Wordless Wednesday post are never wordless, lol

Anonymous said...

Very cute. We celebrated this year for the first time and my kiddos loved it.

Momma Jorje said...

Visiting from Natural Parents Network!

I *love* the timing on showing him with sweets here when the theme on NPN is Healthy Snacks. :D

And this looks like a really fun tradition!

Run DMT said...

How fun! It's very similar to Three Kings Day, which happens after Christmas. I need to bookmark your page to remember to do this for our Advent calendar next year.

Farmer's Daughter said...

Love it! I'm 1/4 German... Always attributed my live for Christmas in part to that. We must must must celebrate St. Nicholas day next year (or do a late one this weekend, lol!)

Christy said...

awww I LOVE this idea, I am so bummed I missed out on it this year!! ;( Gonna have to remember it for next year!
By the way, you have an awesome camera, I am having a bit of camera envy over here looking at your pictures.

Mommie Couture said...

Such a cute idea!

~~ Come visit my blog! ~~

Good Girl Gone Green said...

That is s interesting, Lauren. Thanks for sharing the story and the amazing pictures! :)

Anonymous said...

I love sharing some of my childhood traditions with our children. It makes the season that much more magical. And how fortunate your son is to experience a very special tradition here many children don't.

ana z. said...

I grew up in a Catholic home, going to Catholic school, and always looked forward to St. Nicholas Day. Since Sv. Nikola is Niko's patron saint, we're celebrating Dan Svetog Nikole, waiting for Sveti Nikola to visit and put a poklonima u svojim cipelama (a present in his shoe). We're Croatian : )

Niko actually has a better grasp at repeating the Croatian numbers 1-10 than English. I know he doesn't *know* them, but it's fun listening to his echo me, and his Grand-Grand Dida (as he has named himself) really likes that I'm doing my best to throw his native tongue in there.

Nev said...

I love Nikolaustag and can't wait to do it for my daughter who's almost 16 months. We'll be keeping it small: a piece of fruit, maybe a candy and a small gift (book or so). Christmas is just around the corner so we don't like overdoing it. :)


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