Believe it or not, today is my favorite holiday of the year. It's St. Nick's Day! According to German tradition, St. Nicholas was a third century saint and Bishop who was known for his secret gift giving. In Germany, and throughout much of Europe, many children put a boot outside their front door on the night of December 5th. That night, St. Nicholas visits and fills their boots with small gifts to be found the next morning.
Growing up in Milwaukee, which still has very strong German influences, my family always celebrated the German custom of St. Nick's Day. I loved the thrill of running to my stocking on the morning of December 6th to see what St. Nick (aka Elf Jackie) had left me for being such a good girl. Usually, it was lots of candy and small gifts. My mom always included her trademark LifeSaver Sweet Storybook. Despite the fact that I've never liked LifeSaver candies, the inclusion of this small item year after year always brought a smile to my face.
Although my childhood has long since passed, my family continues to celebrate St. Nick's Day, and I've introduced the tradition to many new friends. My roommate Karen knows just how much I love St. Nick's Day, so unbeknownst to me, she awoke early this morning to leave out a stocking full of goodies for me (clearly, I have been a good roommate this year). I did the same for her, and we excitedly dug through our stockings together early this morning. Elf Jackie has assured me that more goodies are on their way from Nevada. Thus, I await anxiously.