Christmas traditions

Some many moons ago, my wife decided to extend the Christmas season by just a little bit. Not to overwhelm the season, but to take the “I want” stage out of oldest child. We had the advent calendars, but they just seemed to bring on that inner consumer that my oldest daughter was (is???).

My wife decided to celebrate St. Nicholas Day. We told the story of St. Nicholas and how he eventually became known as Santa Clause. We also told how he gave to the people in need, not everyone. I like to think that this got more of the spirit of giving in our girls, but I never asked them. Anyway early on Dec 6 we would investigate our Christmas Stockings. The very first gifts of the season.

As parents we would put in a small gift that would take some attention away from the other getting. There would be fruit, candy and a Christmas Ornament from Grandma.

We carried on this tradition for many years. I know at least two of the girls (maybe 3) still celebrate the day. I hope it is the spirit of giving, not getting.

This is the 6th Christmas Season without my lovely wife by my side. A time mixed with dark thoughts and bright lights. With only my youngest at home, this may be one of the last time St. Nicholas visits this house. The traditions are changing as life changes.

6 thoughts on “Christmas traditions”

  1. May you feel the love and warmth of those who cherish you this season. Sounds like a great tradition. As time has gone on, I truly do love to give more than receive the joy of seeing others open a heart-felt gift is awesome.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Saint Nicholas day…
    It’s great that a unique Christmas tradition was started in your family; especially one that the girls appreciate and might even continue with their own families…

  3. I hadn’t heard of this day either, but I started reading about it on Wikipedia. It seems to be bigger in other countries.

    Interesting factoid- I know (thanks to Do Black Patent Leather Shoes…) that he used to be the patron saint of children, but according to Wikipedia he is the patron saint of… pawnbrokers. Yes, that is what Wikipedia says. Now I have to look up the list of patron saints. If Catholics have a patron saint of pawnbrokers, what else is on that list I wonder?

    It can’t be denied though that St. Nicholas was very generous. From Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, he would have “gifts” as his primary love language for sure.

  4. I’m sure my lovely wife got her information from her interest in history and a few foreign exchange students her family hosted.

    This spirit of Christmas lasted from very early December until Epiphany or Three Kings Day. There were many days in between. The only day we didn’t celebrate was Boxing Day. For some reason there were no servants in the house.

  5. Indeed, the Epiphany is celebrated 12 Days after Christmas. Coincidence? I remember learning the different traditions of the holiday in France in French class.

  6. Okay, goofy Christmas trivia lesson. The song “The 12 Days of Christmas” is about the period of time from between Christmas and Epiphany. Not sure whether the 12 days are actually 12/26-01/06, or 12/25-01/05. Accounts vary. Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day, was (is?) widely celebrated in Mexico, where people would give each other small gifts, and make Twelfth Night Bread, which is a very sweet, fruit-filled bread that had a coin or small tchotchke baked into it. Whoever found the item was “King of the Day”, which seems to mean they didn’t have to do any of their regular duties, and they got to “boss” everyone else in the household around. I’m sure this went over very well with small children, getting to boss their parent’s around.
    And yes, it did help curb some of the “presents, presents, presents!” mentality I had around Christmas. Now, I’m still a bit of an inner consumer, but it’s because I like buying things to give to everybody else. Best of bothe worlds, Daddy? 🙂

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