Yes, it’s the feast of St. Nicholas on Sunday 6th December and all the good boys and girls who visit Chuckies would like to wish Santa a very Happy Birthday. This is a day which is celebrated in several European countries and marks the real beginning of the Christmas season. In memory of St. Nick, the children leave their shoes outside their bedroom door on the night of the 5th and the elves leave sweets in them. It is a good way of finding out in time if you are on Santa’s good list as the elves leave a stick if you’ve been very naughty. The good thing is that it gives you enough time before Christmas Eve to pack in a few good deeds like cleaning your room or helping your parents to make up for any bold things you did during the year. It’s never too late to impress Santa!
As most children are off school on the 8th December, our family has always celebrated this lovely tradition on that date instead of the 6th. Every year I am tempted to get out the decorations and make a start but the value of building a tradition that happens year after year on the same date outweighs the urge to bling our home. So, every year on the 8th December, we load up and head off to buy the tree from the same person. We usually have to cut about 2 feet off it just to get it in the front door and the branches are generally so wide that they sit on the couches on either side. There is rarely an even spread of foliage with large gaps especially in the middle, but we have plenty decorations built up over the years to camouflage these flaws of nature.
Next all the decorations are pulled out of every available storage place in the house. As I tend to buy one or two special decorations every year, it is like a trip down memory lane as we recall where and when the decorations were bought. Munching down enough Cadburys roses to sicken a horse, the transformation continues.
Once the decorations are up, its time to write the letter to Santa. Make sure you thank him for the presents last year and ask him how Mrs Santa is keeping. Santa loves good manners. The letters are put in the fireplace so that the elves can find them when they visit and the shoes are left, neatly for once, outside the bedroom door.
The excitement of the following morning is almost equal to that of Christmas morning as the expectations are so much lower and the relief of finding sweets rather than a stick is obvious. It makes the spirit of Christmas just bubble inside you.
Christmas is a great time to start new traditions or renew forgotten ones. Traditions are so important and are part of the glue that holds families together. They give children and even teens a sense of security as they know that in an uncertain world, some things stay the same. Traditions are the ‘we always’ of families. They are at the core of lasting childhood memories for kids and parents.
So this year, why not celebrate Santa’s birthday on whatever day suits you, in whatever way suits you and make a memory!