One of the joys of living in another country is the opportunity to foster a new culture and embrace traditions.
You know how the stockings are hung by the chimney with care (or wooden hutch so they don’t burn up when you light a fire in the fireplace) in hopes that St. Nick soon would be there?
|That is Elmer’s little stocking…don’t get any ideas. 🙂|
We do something very similar in Germany a few weeks before Christmas. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) Sankt Nikolaus (you may know him as Santa Claus but you can read that story here) comes to town to inquire on the behavior of children. Think of it as a one last final check of the naughty and nice list. 😉
We thoroughly clean our houses and put a polished Nikolaus-Stiefel (Nikolaus boot) outside the front door on the night of December 5th in preparation for Saint Nicholas’ visit. Later that night, he will stop by to check up on the children and see if they were good, polite, and helpful the past year. If they were, he will fill the boot with gifts and sweets overnight. If they were not, they will find a Rute (tree branch), coals, or potatoes in their boot.
Dun, dun, dunnn….
By the way, Nikolaus is pronounced “neek-oh-louse.”
He brings along his golden book, which has all the children’s deeds written in it, to check the child’s behavior record. He hands out presents on the basis of their behavior. According to rumor, it helps to write the good saint a letter and leave a carrot or two for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in the boot (he doesn’t bring his reindeer because they are still training for the big day).
So, my dear readers…
Set out your boots tonight and find out what Saint Nicholas thinks! We did. 🙂