Hello, and Happy St. Nicholas Day!
Today, my friends, is a small holiday in the Frycek (and now this Denlinger) household, along with many other countries across Europe. For as long as I can remember, I have been celebrating this day with my family, a tradition that comes my my czech background, passed down from my grandparents.
I remember, fondly, waking up early (sometimes 4 or 5 o’clock early when we were very young) to celebrate this day as a family. Our little sister Lindsey would wake up Anne, the oldest child, first and Anne would determine if it was late enough in the morning to wake up everyone else in the family. Us kids would giddily run to the living room, aglow with the christmas tree lights, to the fireplace where our stockings hung. Mom would make us hot chocolate or tea, and sometimes my dad would make a fire, which we all huddled around in our PJs as we listened to Christmas music. Our family would then open the little inexpensive gifts and candies St. Nick had brought us and we would all have breakfast, picnic style, in front of the fireplace before heading off to work and school.
I think what made the day so special was the time we spent together before running off to our normal routines. I still find it incredibly special when Matt and I can share breakfast or coffee together before leaving for work, and I partially attribute that excitement of waking up earlier than needed, to this day (I’m not sure the “waking up earlier than normal” excitement has quite hit Matt yet, but he’s a good sport and gladly participates).
So yes, Matt and I officially had our first St. Nicholas Day together this morning! We woke up 30 minutes early, made pancakes and hot chocolate (and coffee after), and opened up a couple gifts that St. Nicholas dropped off via his trusty worker (thanks, Mom)! We now have a bowl full of candy that will be staring at me while I work from home, some fancy christmas pasta noodles, and lavender and vanilla bean infused sugars that will instantly dress up our christmas cookies this year!
And, in case you were curious, here is a little excerpt of the real story of St. Nick and how he influenced Christmas as we know it today:
St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a rich person, and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. St. Nicholas did not like to be seen when he gave away presents, so the children of the day were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come! Nothing has changed and Santa Claus will not arrive this Christmas unless the children go to sleep early.
A famous story about St. Nicholas, is about a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St Nick dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold and ever since, children have hung up stockings on Christmas Eve hoping that they will be filled with presents by Christmas morning.
p.s. sorry for the slightly blurry picture… it was taken before the sun woke in the light of some candles and our Christmas tree