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Saint Nicolas

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On a lighter tone, and because I need it and maybe some others, I wanted to ask you who among you is celebrating Saint-Nicolas (or St Niklaas, or St Nicholas, or St Nikolas).

In Belgium St Nicolas is the Saint who gives away toys for well behaving children.
The bad behawing children are taken care of by 'Zwarte Piet' or 'Père Fouettard' - he comes grimed as a Saracen, even if some politically correct pressure groups want to either to remove him or have him white.
St Nicolas comes on the 6th of december.

So the planning is usually the following :
Children get (magically) flyers with ideas of toys starting in ... october. TV ads increases dramatically so that children are made aware of the new toys St Nicolas imagined during the year.

Children then write a list of what they would want St Nicolas bring to them - here the flyers are of enormous importance for small childre who can cut pics

Parents sit down with children and write a letter to 'le grand Saint'.

The week of the 6th, most children get small gifts. For this they must :
- Put their shoes in front of the chimney (if none available, use your imaginateion, St Nicolas is supposed to come through chimneys).
- put a carrot close to the shoes - St Nicolas uses a trustworthy donkey in his journeys.
- put a beer in front of the chimney (we're ion Belgium) for St Nicolas (this is a variant, some don't).

Then on the 6th the whole bunch of gifts are given to the children...(or on the saturday closest).

So, do you do the same ?
Are there other dates than Xmas and Father Xmas in your countries ?

mvg

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