Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Traditions of the Season: St. Nikolaus Day by Lisa

It’s the 6th December which means that children all across Germany are waking up to a boot full of chocolate and presents outside their front door after a visit from St Nikolaus (and maybe even a few “big children *wink*). Hopefully! Of course, if they’ve not been good, they might go outside to find nothing but coal and sticks in their boots instead. But since when have children at this time of year ever really found themselves on the naughty list?!?

You can read about the origins of St Nikolaus across the German speaking world here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Nikolaus) but many see this figure as the origin of our English speaking world Father Christmas or Santa Claus. This original figure was a  bishop from today’s Turkey called Nikolas of Myra who had a reputation for secret gift giving. I even read somewhere that he was very shy and used to climb up on the roofs and drop sliver coins down the chimney for the poor people below. I’m always fascinated to see where our Anglo-Saxon customs originated from.

My first Christmas in Germany was a cultural experience for me with so many traditions totally different to what I was used to in the UK. And after 10 years here, I’m still learning! I remember my husband being very disappointed to find that St Nikolaus had “forgotten” him that first year so it’s something I try to remember to celebrate every year, even in a small way.

Over the years, we have cherry-picked the customs from both our backgrounds that we like the most and have created our own form of the festive season which is a lot of fun. And I know that most families out there have one or two individual little traditions that might come from their ancestors or have just developed over the years. Don’t forget that these are important to document in our scrapbook pages. Is it food you always eat? Presents you always exchange? Things from other cultures or countries? Perhaps something really quirky that’s unique to you. Or maybe there’s a new tradition you’d like to introduce to your own family?

Here’s my St Nikolaus page that I made to capture a few thoughts about our special day including the first one we celebrated together.

I used Sketch Support  One Page Sketch #15 (http://www.sketchsupport.com/2011/11/one-page-week-part-6-guest-designer.html)  and some rather older Cosmo Cricket, Jolly By Golly papers for this simple page. Great to allow these papers and product to get an airing!

Why not give it a try and create a page about one of your cultural or family customs?

Thanks and have a great day! Lisa


  1. Lovely page Lisa - and that's a very decent boot-full of gifts - someone must have been VERY good all year!

  2. fabulous layout and great to see how you observe that tradition. For us St Nicholas Day is about giving anonymous monetary gifts to the poor. And children are given gifts of oranges and nuts in a stocking.

  3. Yes, someone was very good this year and deserved to be remembered by St Nick! I think he might have forgotten me though this year :-( Oh well! Isn't it great to learn all about how different cultures/families/etc celebrate different things at this time of year. It's all so interesting!

  4. Passing thru, Lisa. Love the boot...to boot ;) lol. Have a great day! and thanks for sharing your goodness as always. xoxo Heidi

  5. That older paper still works brilliantly! Love all the different traditions people have. Sorry you got forgotten - but at least you didn't get coal! Maybe Father Christmas will make it up to you ;)

  6. I love this! I love how you smashed the two of your best together to make such a unique holiday celebration. I also LOVED St Nick when I was growing up (Dad was army and stationed in Germany for 8 years). I would get so excited, but since stockings are my favorite thing why wouldnt I love shoes full of surprises?

  7. Thanks for sharing! I have some of that Cosmo Cricket (the one with the vines) and can't bring myself to cut into my last sheet of it - I really liked that line :). Love your sparkly title.