O good holy Nicholas,
you who brought joy to children,
put in my heart the spirit of childhood
about which the Gospel speaks.
Teach me how to sow
happiness around me. Amen.
—Prayer to St. Nicholas
Send a St. Nicholas Feast Day e-card or another Advent greeting from here.
Last night, we hosted friends for a St. Nicholas Vigil party. The kids watched Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa, which I'm sure my kids will want to watch again today. We ate yummy BBQ beef sandwiches which have nothing to do with St. Nicholas, but tasted great (thanks, Rachel)!
For dessert, we ate Speculaas, and there are leftovers to enjoy today. Every year, I make these cookies which are traditionally molded in a wooden cookie mold shaped like St. Nicholas. I don't have a wooden cookie mold shaped like anything, so I just roll the dough into logs, slice and bake. Every year, I seriously consider buying a wooden cookie mold, but never do. I'm scouring eBay once again, and I found this. It shows St. Nicholas leading his donkey loaded with gifts. Ends in two days. I'll have to think about it. It's $30 including the shipping... and I'm only going to use it once a year...and I don't need it until next year...and this is why I find myself every December 5th wishing I had a mold but not having one. On the other hand, I'm selling my special Christmas stockings faster than I can make them, so I could justify a splurge purchase...
I also spied at eBay some chocolate candy molds shaped like St. Nicholas. Thank goodness those listings ended! The two molds went for over $100 combined. But they were really cute. I'll stick with our plastic el cheap-o candy molds until after we win the lottery. Or maybe for when we find ourselves making candy for grandchildren.
Last week at work, a woman in my husband's office was asking everyone if they knew what day was the traditional day for giving gifts. My husband asked her which part of Europe she was talking about. She waved him off and disqualified Catholics from answering the question! None of the non-Catholics had the slightest clue that December 6th (and January 6th) were the days more closely associated with giving gifts throughout all of Europe. There was a time that learning about ethnic traditions of different countries was taught in schools, but I guess they dropped that part of the curriculum to spend more time doing things like dress-in-your-pajamas-day-and-watch movies, which I have known schools to do.
Fritz has just gotten up and can't wait to see what is in his stocking (St. Nicholas fills the stockings here, not the shoes). The other kids will be up soon, and he'll have to wait until then. Not much there: gold wrapped chocolate coins, special nativity chocolate lollipops, some Christmas coloring books, and a letter from St. Nicholas (courtesy of my husband):
My Dearest Fritz, Billy, Katie, Jenny, & Pete
As I am sure you are well aware, Christmas is just around the corner. Are you ready? Have you been good this year? Those questions will forever remain with you all the days of your life. Our lives are much like Advent, where we wait & prepare for the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Christmas is very important & just as you must be good to receive gifts on Christmas morn, so too must you be good, & ready for when Jesus comes to us again. Now I know you have been pretty good all year & this has been a tough one with your Daddy gone often & each of you going to the doctor but you must try your very best. Keep up the good work. I know it is hard sometimes but you must be kind & loving to each other & obey your parents. Make sure you do your schoolwork & help your Mom with the chores. But most importantly keep saying your prayers with all of your heart. Be joyful in all that you do & love one another as Jesus loves you. I have left you a few coloring books for you all to share & some candy as a treat. May the Lord bless you all the days of your lives, & may He help you grow in love & kindness.