Naughty or Nice – Sticks or Treats…

Knecht Ruprecht (on the left) and St. Nicholas.
Image via Wikipedia

Today is Staint Nicholas Day in Europe.

In European countries December 6th is a much anticipated day by children: Saint Nickolas Day. On this special day, St. Nick surprises children with treats if they behaved well during the year. Those who were naughty, receive coal and sticks from St. Nicholas’ helper, Knecht Ruprecht.

On the evening of December 5th, children of all ages shine their shoes and then place them on the window sill. During that night, St. Nicholas makes a stop at each house. On the morning of December 6th, the children awake with excitement to see their treats.

When I was a young child, my sisters, my brother, and I always did a very thorough job cleaning our boots. My father always checked each one to see if it was acceptable for St. Nick’s visit.

The presents were placed in the shoes or boots in a small see-through bag that contained a few pieces of nuts, an orange (which was a rarity those days) and some small pieces of chocolates or lollypops. We were poor, so my siblings and I appreciated it very much. Not only because of the goodies, but because we knew that Christmas Eve would be extra special that year. The belief is that St. Nicholas and the Angels share the list of naughty and nice children. Therefore, getting treats from St. Nick instead of coals and sticks also meant that on Christmas Eve the Angels would not only bring the Christmas tree, but a present sent from Heaven as well.

I raised my own children with this same magical tradition and story. I am very pleased to see that they are passing it on to their own children, my grandchildren. It is not the big and expensive toys that make Christmas special. Small inexpensive things with the right magical story can make life long memories that they will cherish and pass down to their own children. That is worth a lot more and those memories are priceless.

Happy St. Nicholas Day to all!

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