Growing up in Ohio, I had never heard of St. Nick’s Day. And even though he spent part of his childhood in Milwaukee, Eric never mentioned St. Nick’s Day. I just asked him about it and he said he thinks he had heard of it, but that he doesn’t remember celebrating it as a kid. I didn’t hear about St. Nick’s Day until I started working at MGIC in 2003. I had lived in Milwaukee for three years at that point.
St. Nick’s Day is apparently an old German tradition, and given that Milwaukee is strongly German, it’s very popular here. I’ll give you the short version in a minute, but if you want to read the long versions, here’s a couple of links:
In short, St. Nick comes on the night of Dec 5th and fills your stocking with treats. What I’ve heard from most parents is that the kids get a toy or two and some candy. Some people include a Christmas ornament. We always had our stockings filled on Christmas, so that’s what I had always done with my kids.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I had to worry about this. Richland Center didn’t celebrate it, so Jenna never asked, even if she happened to be with us on Dec 5th & 6th. Then Alex started 4K and I knew that it might come up. But it came and went and all I heard was that St. Nick visited his classroom. The following year, for 5K, I knew they were making St. Nick’s stockings because I had been tasked with cutting them out and punching holes in them. The night of the 5th rolled around and Alex didn’t bring home the stocking, so once again, I got out of it.
Then rolls around 2012. Yesterday afternoon I finally made the decision to just do it because I was tried of the “Will I?” or “Won’t I?” question every year. I was trying to figure out how to draw the kids attention to the stockings on a day when we wouldn’t normally even look at them. Well, as it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that part. But the reason came from an unexpected source. When I picked the kids up at daycare (Alex didn’t go to school yesterday because of his cold), Beth greeted me at the door with: “Nick’s coming tonight!”. “Nick? Who’s Nick?” I asked. “St. Nick!” she said.
Barb explained that Elijah and his mother were talking about St Nick coming tonight and Alex told Beth that he never comes to our house. Beth was crushed. So Barb told her to remind Mommy to hang their stockings and maybe he’ll come this year. Which he did. 🙂
They each got two bags of gold chocolate coins, and three packages of Pez and a new Pez dispenser. In addition, Beth got a Lego Friends Splash Pool and a Hello Kitty coloring book. Alex got a Lego City truck (it came from Target, but I can’t find a link on their website) and a booster pack of Pokemon cards.
Both kids were very excited about their gifts. Alex has been asking for that Lego set every time we go to Target, and I guess Beth saw her Lego set on TV. And let’s not forget that we had to open the booster pack of cards and see what was in there. Alex determined the 7 cards were useful to him and the other three he would give to his father because they might be useful to him.
Needless to say, it took us a little extra time to get out of the house this morning. And even though we did St. Nicks, the kids will still get stuff in their stockings on Christmas. We would have still been at home if I had given them everything I bought for the stockings. 🙂