St. Nicholas Eve

I got gold coins today. To put in our shoes tonight. For St. Nicholas Eve. This is a big step.

Since Wee One’s arrival, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to tell her about Santa and all the other Christmas “things.”  Do I want to do Elf on the Shelf? Do I want to go all out with Santa? Only talk about Jesus? Talk about the other holidays around the end of the year?

I know, people think I sound silly. ‘C’mon, everyone does Santa!’ Or ‘It’s part of the magic of the season.’

I get that. I see that, and it works for people. But I have also seen some people virtually terrorize their children with Santa. “I’ve got his number right here and I”m gonna call him if you don’t stop being bad! You want me to call him?” Or make them look foolish. “I think I hear his sleigh outside! Do you hear the bells?!” (Kids run over to the window and crane their necks while adults laugh.)

I’m aware that may be hyperbolic and may be my own sensitivity to being made fun of, but its hard to fight and it just won’t work for me.

So I’m fumbling my way through; I’m going to tell her about Santa but put more focus on Jesus and giving and using this time of Advent to sort of recalibrate ourselves to be generous and ethical people. And that will start with St. Nicholas, who is the original Santa Claus. #hipstersanta #hewassantabeforesantawascool

But as I bought little gold coins to put into our shoes tonight, I remembered the last time I put something in someone’s shoes, back in undergrad. I was living in a dorm for upperclassmen and most of us had our own rooms, which was nice. That also meant we mostly stayed to ourselves. There were only a few people I really got to know, even their names. One was Maria, a woman from Germany, who lived down the hall. We would chat and sometimes even visit each other’s.

When I came home from something on St. Nicholas eve, I saw her shoes outside the door in the hallway. The only time I ever saw that when I lived in the dorms and I doubt she expected anything to come of it, but I thought it was wonderful so I put some treats in her shoes. Again, she was surprised, but she knew it was me and we had a sweet hug.


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