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Saturday, December 19, 2009

German Christmas Traditions: St. Nikolaus Tag

Something you need to understand about us German folks.

WE LOVE CHOCOLATE!!!

And please don't ask us to share. It's not in our nature to share chocolate.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's turn our attention to a very important day.

December 6th.
Or as we call it in Germany, St. Nikolaus Tag (pronounced tog).
Traditionally, this begins on the 5th of December, but many also carry this out on the 6th.

If you are going to have a really authentic St. Nikolaus Tag, then you'd wait for a man dressed up as St. Nick who comes around to all the houses and offers gifts to the children. He would resemble a bishop and carry a long staff with him. As well as a golden book containing all the good and bad deeds of the children. In his company would be a posse of devil-like creatures (bachelor men dressed up very wicked looking) called Krampusse or Krampus to gently scare the children. Christina of ourlittlebox.com, has some amazing pictures on this post.

There is also a more classic Santa Claus looking man. He comes alone carrying a sack, which by the way has a small switch sticking out to serve as a small reminder to be good.

However, growing up we did this.
For some, St. Nikolaus doesn't make a personal appearance.
Instead they leave their boots (or in Ty's case a slipper since the boy doesn't own boots...weird) by the door or window. Later to discover the gifts and treats HE has left them.
For my brothers and I, we would leave our boots by the door before heading off to bed. Soon after we'd get a knock on our window seal (we all lived in the basement of our house). We would run upstairs to see the lovelies brought to us by, of course, St. Nikolaus.

Even after I left home, my mom would always make sure to send me a care package of treats for St. Nikolaus Tag. It was not to be missed.
The most important piece was one of these.
A Lindt Chocolate Santa
(Picture from Lindtusa.com)

They were extremely hard to find this year.
I searched high.
I searched low.
Near and....well, okay I only searched in Kennewick, but still.
I finally found them at Target before they eventually did run out.
Honestly, this is a staple Christmas treat for my family and to not have it was simply out of the question.

Do you celebrate St. Nikolaus Tag?
How do you celebrate it?

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