Jolly Old St Nicholas

Happy St Nicholas Day (ahem, yesterday)!   I feel behind on everything at the moment.  Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, housework, especially laundry, expressing…yes expressing milk.  I am even behind on that.  The explanation of why I’m so behind will perhaps be explained in the days to come.  The abbreviated version is that I’m helping out at work for a couple of days over the course of three weeks while they are short-staffed.  After a TERRIBLE night on Sunday, my first day was Monday.  I came home, felt like death, and pretty much didn’t get out of my pyjamas all day on Tuesday.  Can you die from tiredness?  And I don’t mean the residual effects of tiredness, I just mean dying from being tired because I’m pretty sure you can.

So of course, when I walked through the door on Monday night and The Native apologetically said, “I have to run out and sort your stocking,” worried that he had left to the last minute what I had sorted weeks ago, I had to admit that I had done zilch-o for his stocking.  Nothing.  Nada.  In my death-like tired state, I then sheepishly had to ask him if he would sort his stocking out, too.  There’s the spirit of the holiday season….Honey, go out and do my Christmas shopping for you.

 Some of my British readers may be asking why we do stockings on the 6th December.  Well, may I humbly ask….why don’t you?!   No, I kid.  I do get why you do stockings on Christmas, but I grew up in a German settlement in the Midwest, was of German descent myself and so my family always celebrated St. Nicholas Day on the 6th of December like they would in Germany.  It wasn’t until university that I realized that, no, not everyone is of German descent, and no, not everyone celebrates St. Nick’s.  Imagine my horror.  But The Native was all about my family’s holiday tradition and so once we were married, we adopted it as a couple.

And now we have brought The Duchess into that tradition, except that on Monday night the only thing I had bought for her stocking was a touch-and-feel book called That’s Not My Reindeer.  I sent The Native to Asda (thank the good Lord it wasn’t me) with a short list of less than mediocre things to throw in her stocking.  And yes, I get that she’ll never remember this St. Nick’s, but I felt pretty rubbish about the whole thing, because as a new mom, I want to make everything special for her because she is so special to me.

A book about rejected reindeer

I wanted to get her an especially handmade stocking that had her name carefully embroidered or stitched on the fold.  I wanted to carefully hand select every little present and parcel that this stocking held.  I wanted them to be hanging beautifully above our Victorian fireplace.  And instead it was a stocking I rushed to buy, with the majority of presents quickly thrown together and a stocking placed under our tree because we couldn’t find anything sensible with which to hang it.

We opened our stockings before dinner on Tuesday and it all felt very anticlimactic.  I debated on whether even to get the camera out and take pictures, but in the end thought, “I need to get something right!”

What I loved is that at 6 months old, our Duchess noticed that stocking under the tree, pulled it out and, once The Native showed her there were things inside, she took interest.  The first thing she pulled out was That’s Not My Reindeer.  Then, it happened.  She took it and smiled and was desperate to look at every part of it.  She sat and read it with her Daddy 4 times, as she patted each page.  She couldn’t get enough.  As I watched her, I felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and all of the sudden I felt like I hadn’t done such a bad job after all.   I love that this kid can make me feel like that.

Happy belated St Nicholas Day, one and all!


6 thoughts on “Jolly Old St Nicholas

  1. christy

    I was on a kick of getting my family to celebrate St Lucia’s day growing up. I evennnn had the green leafy candle crown thingy. This was however my weirdness and not something all of my extended Swedish family got into.

  2. Alex

    Ah, well I know the feeling, I’m behind on life in general as well if it’s any consolation. I think St Nick is a lovely tradition, we have had a number of German au pairs in the past few years so we tend to celebrate it in a minor way too (though Christmas Eve is still the biggy for us, stocking-wise). Glad the book was a hit and hope the Duchess has a terrific first Christmas.

  3. lowimpactmama

    Such a lovely tradition – am jealous of my German and Swedish friends with their St Nick/Lucia traditions! Am glad it all came together in the end. You really capture that desire to get everything “perfect” before reality kicks in and reminds you it’s so much better..

  4. Pingback: Easter issues « Living Life as an Expat Parent

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