Suburban Correspondent was the first to guess correctly: the 6th of December is St. Nicholas Day! SC, please e-mail me your address and I’ll get your package sent ASAP! 😀
And because her guess was the information about H-J (written in German and English) that I had already prepared in the post below , Melli has won a small prize as well. 😀
H-J war in Deutschland geboren. Wir haben ihn zurückkehrt vom Krankenhaus 6. Dezember verursacht: St. Nikolaus Tag.
H-J was born in Germany. We brought him home from the hospital on December 6th: St. Nicholas Day.
It was our first year of living there and we were still learning many new customs. One friendly neighbor had stockings made up for the older boys and a special stocking for me. Since H-J was too little to warrant his own, I was the lucky recipient! Mmmmm…. Schokolade!
The following year I made sure the 3 boys & I took a walk over to the local grocery store where “German Santa” was giving chocolate and oranges out to the children. I continued to ask questions to that I would know how to properly celebrate this holiday, so now the children put their shoes by the front door before they go to bed on December 5th. (We’ve added a purely American piece by telling them that their wish-lists must go in the shoe so St. Nikolaus can deliver it to Santa Claus… I know: greedy Americans, having 2 Santas!!) In the morning there will be goodies for each boy, found in his shoe by the front door.
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
Through the centuries St. Nicholas has continued to be venerated by Catholics and Orthodox and honored by Protestants. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life.
Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas’ feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity.
Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.
~the above quotes –and more information– can be found at http://www.stnicholascenter.org/
A kid-friendly site (with fun activity pages) is the UK-German Connection, Voyage Kids, at