So, I realize that our family is pretty much the only family of all the families i know who knows that this holiday exists. I was accused today of even making it up. Not true. I'm about to get educational on you so grab your number two pencil, your trapper keeper and take notes!
St. Nicholas was kindof the precurser to Santa Claus. It's a European tradition that came here along with all the immigrants. Mostly a Dutch holiday it's celebrated on December 5th, the day before the Feast of St. Nicholas or St. Nicholas Day, which is December 6th. Anyway, the tradition goes that St. Nicholas would travel to the homes of children on the night of December 5th and bring small gifts. Sound familiar? Well it should, the Dutch name for St. Nicholas is Sinterklaas (much like Santa Claus, right?). Sinterklaas eventually morphed into Santa Claus. Like so many other countries, in the US Santa Claus delivers presents on Christmas Eve. In Holland, among other countries in Europe, the gifts are delivered on the eve of the big feast. We are selfish in our family and celebrate both. St. Nicholas is on a much smaller scale and is kind of a "taste" of the big ol' Christmas extravaganza.
Ok, about the celebration now. The actual tradition has children placing their shoe out for St. Nick to deliver their goods into. This morphed as well, into stockings. If the child was good, they would expect fruit and nuts. If not, coal was their prize. WIth time, this grew to different types of gifts. Typically it's still a smaller, much less expensive gift. Maybe a cd or a small toy. Gifts are opened the morning of December 6th.
Anyway, we celebrated Connor's first St. Nick's this week. I hassled Jeffrey until he gave in and we opened our gifts on the night of the 5th. We'll do it right when it counts and Connor is old enough to know what is going on. So, I got Superbad the movie. Hilarity. Jeffrey got some Christmas cds he'd wanted and an Office quotes page a day calendar--this was truly a hint from me that it existed and I wanted one on christmas:) . when he didn't catch the subtlety of my hint-i told him where and how much. connor got the book The Night Before Christmas, which was originally based on St. Nick and eventually retold to include Santa stuff. He also got cute Christmas clothes.
I love holiday traditions:)