Monday, December 6, 2010

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Grandpa Bolte (back row, 4th from left), 1920s

I always remember my mother recounting Christmas as a child.  My Grandpa Bolte would bring in a fresh cut tree the night of Christmas Eve.  Upon Christmas morning, my mother would wake to a beautifully decorated tree with presents under it.  My grandfather would also work painstakingly on a beautiful manger scene using moss from the woods on their chicken farm.

When I was growing up, my little brother Matt and I knew that it was time to decorate the Christmas tree when my father started to play the Manheim Steamroller CD.  On Thanksgiving, Grandma and Grandpa Bruns would handout the Advent calendars.  What a treat it was to each day open up a new glittery imagine.  My mother had a handmade Advent calendar with stenciled numbers and little wooden figurines.  Once we got to the 3 wise men, Mary, and Joseph, we would fight over who got to add the figurine to the manger scene as those specific wooden people symbolized just how close Christmas was.

While our families create these wonderful traditions leaving fond memories imprinted on my brain, my elementary school also added a particular tradition I am rather fond of.  December 6th is St. Nick's Day.  Shine your shoes and leave them at the door and perhaps, Jolly Old St. Nicholas will leave a treat for you.  That tradition seems to have gone by the wayside in our family once we were out the school system.  It was not until my friend Angelika reminded me about this day.  

Kind of hard to put treats in the shoes if the Bear is going to eat said shoes

In Angelika's native country of Hungary, Santa or Mikulas comes on December sixth.  Boots are placed in the window (similar to our stockings by the fireplace) and treats and toys fill them.  In Hungary, baby Jesus delivers the gifts on Christmas Eve.

In college, there still was an Advent calendar.  Only this particular calendar had chocolate!  Yum!  Courtesy of our dear roommate Denise.  Fond memories.

Our House Last Year.
Yes, there are 6 stockings.  Our furbabies get presents too.
It is heart-warming on how traditions invoke so many memories.  Marriage is not only a union between two people, but it is also a meshing of two sets of traditions. Some traditions are similar and other are completely different.  Andrew and I are still working on our traditions.  Sure, we are keeping some of the ones from our youth, but we are also in the process of developing our own.  Still being newlyweds with a little Ellie-Bear, we are trying hard to create traditions that will hopefully invoke wonderful memories for Ellie.

Andrew says: "Um, what is this?"  I personally just like how little Ellie's shoes appear in comparison to Andrew's shoes.

Therefore, this morning (12/6) Andrew and Ellie awoke to having their shoes filled with a small gift from St. Nick.

Again with the shoes?  I thought she would be excited about the bag and tissue paper.  

Oh oh, showing some interest.

There we go.  I knew the shiny paper would be a hit.  There is an actual gift in there.

Nevermind, she is off to do more important things like dump the water bowl. (she got play food).

Do not ask me about her socks.  They were removed by Ellie.

Sophie wants to know what she is getting.  Four paws = four presents

Ah ha!  Gotcha Tama!  Proof that my black cat does indeed exist.


  1. This is a great post Anna! It is always a treat to go down on memory lane especially around the holidays and about the holidays!

    I love the picture of your fireplace wall, very festive living room. I also like you captured the treats left by the Mikulas. :)

    Happy St. Nick's Days!

  2. I really enjoyed this post as well. It's nice that Dad and I made some memories for you. I know you and Andrew will do the same for the Ellie Bear:-) As you noted, my mom and dad really made Christmas time special.

  3. I totally got my St. Nick's present early this year as it's a xmas countdown clock and mom couldn't wait to give it to me when she found out I was listening to xmas music in mid-November.
    Also, I did not find out about St. Nick's day till I was in like 3rd grade. I couldn't believe my parents hadn't thought to tell me about it. Here I was missing out on a present for like 8 years.


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