happy saint nicholas day!
Last night Todd and I were playing a head-to-head round of Cranium. After I beat him fair and square we decided to just go through the “Humdinger” cards, one of us humming a song while the other person tried to guess which song the other was sure they were humming perfectly when in reality, the tune coming out of their mouth bore no resemblance to the original. But I digress.
As I was attempting to hum “The William Tell Overture” I realized that I had forgotten to do something very, very important. I said, “I have to go. Now.” and Todd, baffled, said “Where?”. We were already in pajamas, it was almost 10:00pm, he had every right to be confused. ”Secret stuff,” I told him, “You won’t even notice I’m gone.” And I left my puzzled husband behind as I rushed out the door.
The reason for my abrupt escape? I had forgotten to pick up his goodies for St. Nicholas Day – a Dutch holiday that my family has always celebrated. Today is St. Nicholas Day and that means that Todd’s treats needed to be ready to be stuffed in his shoes so he could wake up knowing that “St. Nicholas” had been there. Sound familiar? St. Nicholas or Sinterklaas is the basis for our modern-day Santa Claus. There are many differences, the most obvious one being that he comes on the eve of December 6.
Anyways, I think that tradition is really important and, being that this is our first year of marriage, I want to establish traditions now so that they’ll always be a part of our history.
So, long story short (well, it has been a little long, hasn’t it?) I ran to the store and stocked up on all of the Dutch treats that I could find, snuck them back into the house and then snuck out of bed to fill Todd’s shoes and leave them outside of our bedroom door after he’d fallen asleep.
I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever truly surprised Todd. He thought that there was some Christmas gift that had to be picked up last night, he had no idea even though I’ve bought him at least something for St. Nicholas Day every year that we’ve been together. He opened the door this morning and was so confused. He briefly thought that someone had broken into the house and left him a Heineken. Todd is virtually unsurprisable and it was such a great feeling to know he was genuinely surprised. I can’t wait to see if I can pull the same surprise off next year.
For those of you who are interested, this article about St. Nicholas is really good and gives great background on why we continue to celebrate this day and the origins of the Sinterklaas/Santa Claus connection.
Also, Todd’s shoes were filled with the following Dutch goodies: a bottle of Heineken, Droste Chocolate Pastilles, Wilhelmina Peppermint (the most amazing peppermint you will ever have) and Stroopwafels. Traditionally we’d have chocolate letters too – maybe next year, if I learn to plan ahead. Gelukkige Sinterklaas dag to you and yours!
What traditions will you/do you carry on with your family?
What cultural holidays do you celebrate?
P.S. Those wooden shoes pictured above are mine and currently being held hostage at my parents’ house. If anyone has a chance to sneak them out, let me know.