Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nikolaus / St. Nicholas Day

On December 5, children all over Germany polish their boots and set them out for St. Nicholas to come. He usually brings clementines, nuts, chocolate and/or a small gift. Then on December 6, the Feast of St. Nicholas, the kids wake up early and run to their boots. My kids, even though they are both old enough to know about the historical St. Nicholas and don't believe that he actually comes, eagerly got their boots ready. My son actually put his whole boot under the water faucet, completely drenching it, so that it was too wet to wear the next day.: )

Nikolaus brought the kids clementines, chocolate and new colored pencils!
They got up extra early to check their boots!
I always read the story of the real St. Nicholas to the children and remind them that we polish the boots and give gifts on this day as a way to remember this man's faith and selfless life. The book below, "The Story of St. Nicholas", is excellent for school-age children and has beautiful illustrations embossed with gold.

In Germany, St. Nicholas and "Der Weihnachtsmann" (Santa Claus) are two different people. I am always met with blank stares when I try to explain to German friends that they have melded into the same person in American pop culture.  I appreciate the distinction, because the story of Nicholas of Myra is an inspiring one that I don't want to get lost among Santa, Rudolph and company.


  1. What a fun tradition, I was just watching a show last night about all of the European Christmas Traditions, and learned about St. Nicholas Day. Looks like some wonderful goodies!! Have a wonderful day!