When you blend two families together holidays can be–okay the truth is they can be over-the-top stressful.
My first husband, John had grown up with Dec. 6 being a day to wake up and find candy in his shoes.
I woke up as a child on Dec. 6 with nothing in my shoes!
When we married I learned about St. Nick’s Day. We chose to celebrate it by hanging stockings and putting in chocolate coins and a few small toys.
After John went to live in Heaven, and I married Ed, I introduced the joy of St. Nick’s to Andy. He didn’t mind adding an extra tradition that brought surprise goodies in the morning. His stocking is in the middle. It’s the one his mom, Debbi, picked out for him. I think it blends in nicely between Ben and Josh’s.
After the first year of being a blended family we began giving each boy a small ornament to hang on the tree. Those ornaments would go with them when they married, or moved out and began putting up their own trees. Later we began adding pieces to a Nativity scene.
It didn’t take long for 3 small boys to realize St. Nick’s day meant it wouldn’t be long before the Christmas tree would be decorated and cookies baking.
Do you celebrate St. Nick’s?
* from Wikipedia St. Nicolas comes primarily in Alsace, Lorraine and Nord-Pas-de-Calais (French Flanders). St. Nicolas is patron of Lorraine. A little donkey carries baskets filled with children’s gifts, cookies and sweets. The whole family gets ready for the saint’s arrival on December 6, with grandparents telling stories of the saint. The most popular one is of three children who wandered away and got lost. Cold and hungry, a wicked butcher lured them into his shop where he attacked and salted them away in a large tub. Through the intervention of St. Nicolas the boys were restored to their families. This story led to Nicolas being recognized as the protector of children. In France statues and paintings often portray this event, showing the saint with children in a barrel. The evil butcher became Père Fouettard, who has followed St Nicolas in shame ever since. This story is also a popular French children’s song. Meanwhile bakeries and home kitchens are a hive of activity as spiced gingerbread cookies and mannala, brioche shaped like the good saint, are baked. At school children learn St. Nicolas songs and poems and draw and paint St. Nicolas pictures and crafts. Saint Nicolas visits nursery schools, giving children chocolates and sometimes even a little present. Though Père Fouettard carries switches to threaten the children, what they really fear is that he may advise Saint Nicolas to pass them by on his gift-giving rounds.
posted by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer
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