As a child December 6th was one of my favorite days of the year. On St. Nicholas Day eve (December 5th) we would set our homemade slippers outside of our bedroom door with our Christmas wish lists inside. The next morning we would wake up to find that St. Nick had come for our list and left us candy, a new Christmas ornament, and a chocolate advent calendar in our bedroom shoes. To me, it always represented the beginning of the Christmas season.
What I didn’t realize as a child was that most of my American friends did not celebrate St. Nicholas Day. My mom, being Pennsylvania Dutch, brought this tradition and several others to our family. While my mother’s family never spoke Pennsylvania German, they did maintain many of the German traditions. My grandmother was definitely a Pennsylvania Dutch cook and made pickled beet eggs, scrapple, and hog maw. Personally, I rarely tried any of these dishes as a child, and at the mention of them my response was always “yuck”. My mom and my aunts still make some of the traditional meals but I think they’ve all let hog maw be a recipe of yore. Cleaning pig stomach just is not a pleasurable chore.
Now that I am older, I am so grateful for the traditions that have been passed down from my German ancestors and carried on my grandmother and mom. I know when Hubby and I have children we will be celebrating St. Nicholas Day too. If you missed St. Nick’s Day this year, I don’t think he’ll mind if you celebrate it on December 7th or 8th instead.
I know about the tradition from living in Germany but hadn’t heard the part about leaving the list in the shoes. I like that addition! There are so many traditions from around the world that happen all month, not just Christmas Eve/Day!
My mom may have added that part so she would know what to get us from Christmas. Regardless, I loved it!
I make speculaas cookies with my son Nicolas even though my family has no tradition of doing anything. I though it would be fun to start a new tradition for us.
I’ll have to check those out. I’m needing to make something for Hubby’s work party tomorrow.
They have these really detailed molds (http://www.houseonthehill.net/) that I would love to get one year, for now we just roll them out and use cookie cutters.
I have heard of this gift in the shoes before! What a great little tradition. Here In canada we do not have anything like that. Instead we usually have local festival of lights and Santa Clause day parades! Love the slippers as well btw!