When our children were small St. Nicholas Day usually fell in the week between the First and Second Sunday of Advent. They would set their shoes by the front door for about a week before the 6th of December. Depending on whether they had been naughty or nice, they would wake up in the morning and find a piece of chocolate or some other treat or a switch if they had been bad.
On the 6th of December, they would find a plate full of candy, nuts, clementines, toys, and a Boxemännchen. These little men are made of sweet brioche dough. A roll snipped here and there to form the arms and legs, and a ball of dough for the head. If you don’t make them yourself, you can buy them at the bakery in all sizes, with or without sugar glaze. I like the plain ones the best.
In 1963 my siblings and I met St. Nicholas for the first time in Echternach. My father took photos of de Kleeschen‘s arrival by boat on the Sauer river and the procession through town to the market place. I shared his pictures in my 2015 post, Happy St. Nicholas Day – de Kleeschen kënnt op Eechternoach.
Since the children are grown and have left home, the week before the Second Sunday of Advent is our time to begin putting up decorations for the holidays. Unlike my cousins in the US, we don’t put up a tree as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers have been cleared away. We’ve never had an artificial tree and wait until the week before Christmas.
I brought the decorations down from the attic on Friday and began with the lighted garland in the hallway.
My favorite part came next. The finishing touches. I get to do this all by myself – while listening to Motown Soul music. It gets turned up and no one is there to hear me sing or watch me dance while I move things around until I’m satisfied with the way everything looks.
May the peace of Advent be with you and your families.
© 2019, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.