Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saint Who?

There appears to be, in the great state of Wisconsin, an extra saint with his own extra special child-focused holiday. As far as I ever knew, there's one St. Nicolas and he also goes by Santa Claus and Kris Kringle. However, here we have this whole other guy, who goes by St. Nick, and he gets his own day to give out presents. Just to children, not their parents.

Sounds like a scam doesn't it? I thought so. I'd heard about this St Nick dude years ago from some of the younger children I worked with. Apparently, dude comes every December 5th, only to Wisconsin, and maybe Europe. The littlest cheeseheads are supposed to leave their boots outside and in the morning there will be a gift. In the boot. Seriously.

So when our own little cheesehead appeared, and was joined by her sister-cheesehead, I firmly took the stand that I was against extra gift- getting holidays for the kids. My excuse was that I am from Illinois and there are well known rivalry's and several unflattering nicknames for us not all of which revolve around football. The Husband is from New Mexico where they don't even have football, and they have all sorts of other holiday traditions, none including this Mr. St. Nick. However, he is a soft and mushy sort of Daddy and he insisted our children participate in the getting part of this invented holiday.

SO I WAS CLEAR. If YOU want to do this, than YOU are going to have to do it. I will NOT do it. Raise your hand if you think The Husband pulled it off more than the one time (ha ha that's kind of a trick because your hands are probably on a keyboard but I'm thinking I win anyway). Right. Anyway, I wake him up around midnight and ask him what he put outside on the eve of December 5th. A combination sound of moaning/begging/whining vomits out his mouth and he asks me plaintively.... can you put something out? Naturally.

I dig through the gifts I've managed to obtain prior to the actual real holiday and pick out some small ones. I stuff them outside in the smelly, fetid boots of my children with rain or snow or both pummeling all of it. However, this year there was a small issue. See, since I don't know anything about this St. Nick dude (is he the same as the Saint Nick Santa Claus dude?), I don't remember to think about it. Additionally, it's not my responsibility. When Genea came home and announced it was St. Nick's holiday the next day I took her at her word, assuming she would not mess up a gift- getting opportunity.

I was sort of right.

In her Genea-ness, she was a day early. So she and her sister proudly carried off their little puzzle books to school to show their friends and all their little demon friends told them..... He didn't come last night, he was going to come the next night.

Well shit.

The Husband and I decided to come clean about St. Nick. Somehow, my 8 and 10 year olds had not figured it out despite our rather obvious error. Genea cried for about 2 seconds, then told me thank you for the gift. She seemed to think knowing the truth was pretty cool. Teena was angry we would even speak such evil. We had told them Santa is still, um, a thing. Teena informed us that if Santa is real, and the Elf of Shelves is real, then St. Nick is real and that's that. She told us unequivocally that Santa does not want kids to have to wait all through the dregs of December for their gifts so he spreads some around early.

Many of Teena's theories seem to work in her favor. She also believes that kids only have to be good in  December for Santa to come. Really.

The girls think St Nick and Santa are the same person. I spent like, 90 seconds looking for answers before this post and couldn't find anything definitive. Santa has his own big holiday, though it's really not in celebration of him per se, it's about someone else's birthday. If they are the same saint, is it his birthday 3 weeks prior? Are they different saints? I just do not know.   I think it's made up.

The last thing they wanted to know was if they could still get gifts for the holiday. Sure, I told them. Go buy them and I'll stick them outside for you to find. No problem!




23 comments:

  1. Is ghis when i tell you that St. Nick wasindeed a real luve breathing man who gave to needy which is why we started giving gifts on the day we celebrate his life. December 6 is the day the church celebrates his feast which is why it is then. There are many stories but he was indeed the first santa claus.

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  2. Ohh typing on my phone is always amusing

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    1. AHA, that clears up some things. But, why do we give boot-funk gifts on the 5th then? There is a link there that Im not getting, I think.

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    2. Catholics often celebrate the EVE of a feastday. We do St. Nicholas Day, but on the 6th - and ONLY little bags of gold chocolates because that's historically (gold coins, not chocolate ones) what the real St. Nicholas threw down chimneys (or through windows) to help young ladies who didn't have a dowry.

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  3. I had never heard of this holiday gift giving opportunity before but I can go you one better. We have an ADVENT CALENDAR that I fill myself with teeny tiny little gifts. And do you know how many teeny tiny gifts I have to procure? TWENTY FIVE (yes, I am shouting). I would gladly swap my advent-extravaganza for your one day of St. Nick.

    Deal?

    Oh, and too funny about the husband. It's like they are hard wired that way. or something....

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    1. I appreciate your enthusiasm but your sympathy seems to be lacking :). 25 teeny gifts? MEH. Dollar Tree.

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    2. Sounds simple, right? But nu-uh my dear. I am talking TINY. The doors on this thing are maybe 2 inches be 1/2 inch and maybe, maybe an inch and a half deep. Not even a box of tic tacs fits in there. To fill this box-o-cheer you have to get super creative and really hunt for objects that will fit in. I confess that I have resorted to folded up dollar bills and assorted erasers as filler in the past. This year I totally ran out of steam and wrote little notes about where in the house something slightly larger (like a box of tic tacs) was hidden and yes I then had to hide these things around the house.

      this advent thing is exhausting. Give me one day of ST. Who ever any day. ;-)

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    3. 5 jelly beans. lint. hair stuff. earrings. those stupid squinky things. a lego. a worm. Sheesh! that's 7 right there for you! LOL!
      I have a weird thing about advent calendars. I MUST open them ALL at one time. I have gotten in trouble many, many times over it but I just can't stand looking at those little closed off things. If I were BG I'd open all the doors at once.
      Super creative and impressive with the notes!

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    4. My children get an Advent Calendar with Scripture Verses to look up. We're serious about Advent, I tell you. St. Nicholas is just a little cheerer-upper.

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  4. I have some small amount of sympathy for you - getting one extra gift - ooh so hard! Look we get to celebrate Hannukah and Christmas in our house. Guess who is the one who actually gets to do all the work for both - yup that would be me - the Catholic one. I get to read the Hannukah books, make the latkes (actually I can't complain about fried potatos so I would do this one anyway) buy eight days of gifts, light the menorah, etc. Because my husband - that would be the Jewish one - can't seem to find the time or energy to do it. So because I feel guilty (another give away that I am the Catholic one) that my girls aren't exposed enough to that part of their heritage do all the heavy lifting and Daddy just gets the kisses and thankyous - of course he is a good guy so I don't mind it too much - until I look at my list of things that I must do for Christmas which is closedly followed by Chinese New Year! Then I want to throw a fit and say really why do I have to be the one to do all this? But if I did the only answer would be total silence since no one listens to me in my house. So our girls have lots of holidays and lots of presents - lucky them. And I have a massive headache that lasts until ALL the holidays are over! So only a teeny tiny bit of sympathy here for your troubles over one extra gift!

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    1. didn't you see the part about putting the stuff outside?
      um, yeah, ok you win :)
      I LOVE latkes!

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  5. Everybody else here gave you so little sympathy, I thought I should send you some! I am so glad I don't celebrate Christmas and don't have to deal with maintaining the whole Santa myth. My son believes in him, although I've never brought it up, but at least since we don't discuss it much I can keep it simple. I do get pretty tired by the 8th night of Chanukah, though.

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    1. THANK YOU! I very much appreciate your kindness!

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  6. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on Dec. 6th. My high school German teacher always handed out candy canes on that day, and a Russian Orthodox friend also expects her husband to fill her shoes with gifts for the occasion. But being neither German nor Orthodox, I mostly ignored it...UNTIL my kid came home from kindergarten on Dec 4 and Dec. 5 with the information that a SUBSTITUTE TEACHER had given her about St. Nicholas filling shoes with gifts to find in the morning on Dec. 6th. Are you kidding me? It was my kids' first year in the U.S. (and with our family), so they totally decided it was something that HAPPENS here. So yes, I waited until after they went to bed, then ran to the store for various little treats. What a sucker.

    Luckily, they'd forgotten by this year. Heh heh.

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    1. that's what happened to us too! They found out about it at school. Damn public schools. Teachers make a big fuss about it here. I even saw a big reminder at walgreens. No possibility of forgetting, bah humbug.

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    2. Funny they can't talk about Christmas in a public school, but go whole hog for an actual religious holiday. What?

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  7. Maybe you can throw in a Puerto Rican tradition and celebrate 3 Kings Day to extend the gift suprised to Jan 6th...

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    1. hmm, I'm not currently accepting applications for more holidays but thank you for your interest. LOL!

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  8. And, tomorrow is St. Lucia. (It's a non-gifting holiday…but there are candles and cookies.) :>

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    1. ok see, I can TOTALLY get behind a holiday with cookie requirements!

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    2. Ginger snaps, but you also need to dress the girls up to deliver them with crowns of candles on their heads.

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  9. I learned about the Feast of St. Nicholas as a child, traveling through Austria, when the hotel clerk insisted that we children (the four of us) leave our shoes outside of our hotel-room door on the evening of December 5th. The hotel staff must have filled them with the candy we found there the next morning. In Austria and other German-speaking countries, the Christ-Kind (Christ child) brings the gifts on Christmas Eve. The British receive Christmas gifts from Father Christmas. The co-mingling of the Feast of St. Nicholas with Christmas is an American invention. St. Nicholas was a bishop in what is now Turkey, who was known for his care for the children in his diocese. He was reputed to have tossed coins and goodies into the stockings that children left to dry by the fireplace. Even the tradition of receiving a lump of coal if a child is naughty is symbolic of God's meeting even a naughty child's basic needs. There might be no reward in the form of a treat, but burning coal kept children from freezing in cold, winter climates.

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  10. AHA, this is a great description of all of it. Yeah, I bet coal was not an awful gift, as I sit here with snow coming down outside. Thank you!

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