Friday, December 16, 2011

St. Nick Night.

St. Nick Night, or just St. Nick, as my family calls it, is a tradition from my mother's side of the family.  The modern Santa Claus character is based on St. Nicholas.  His feast day is December 6th and in many countries, St. Nick is the one who gives gifts to good children.  St. Nick is a fun and scary event for most children.  In my family, the event goes like this.  After dinner, when it is dark, St. Nick (usually played by a relative without children in the the home, like grandparents or aunts and uncles) comes to your house and bangs VERY loudly on the doors and windows.  This is kind of scary, even for the parents who are expecting it, because it takes you by surprise and makes you jump.  It definitely gets your heart going.  You, of course, never actually see 'St. Nick', but he leaves a sack (usually a white pillowcase) at your front door filled with oranges, nuts, small candies, cookies and usually a little treat for the children, like crayons or something small like that.  It's not meant to be an extravaganza.  So you wait to make sure St. Nick is gone (because, as mentioned before, he is kind of scary) and then you peak out the door, find the sack, bring it in, dump it out, and enjoy snacking and looking through everything.  It's kind of like a disorganized treat picnic on the floor.  All in all, it is fun, exciting and scary and as a child I loved it.  We did not do St. Nick with Naomi for her first three St. Nick's because we weren't sure how much she could understand, and she has tended to scream and cry over loud noises and unfamiliar experiences.  But we decided to do it this year.  Over the past year, we have discovered that Naomi pretty much understands everything going on around her, and she has become much more tolerant of new experiences and noise, especially since starting preschool.  My parents did St. Nick at our house.  My brother does it for most everyone in the family, but  as he says, he's on a tight schedule and our house is a little too far out from his usual run.  (I am pretty sure Joel loves doing St. Nick.  It's right up his alley, and I bet he does it really scary, how it is supposed to be done.)  Naomi did cry over St. Nick, but I think it was because we took her away from the end of her show rather than because she was scared of the noise.  St. Nick left cookies, oranges, hershey's kisses (no nuts; Rob is allergic) a cut of fabric for me, and two books, a jar of juice, bibs, hair accessories and bubble bath for Naomi.  Daddy took Naomi out to get the sack and we opened it in the front room.  Naomi cried until I started taking pictures; she really likes the camera flash.  All in all, it was really fun and it was nice to be able to start doing these kinds of things with her.  

Going out to look for the sack

Finding the sack

Being mad about being taken away from her show to find the sack

Considering being interested in one of her new books

Looking at a second page

Seeming to like the third page

Starting to cry over being forced to look at the offensive new book

Really getting into feeling sorry for herself over missing the end of her show and having to look at a new book

Noticing the camera flash

Settling down to consider enjoying the camera flash

Almost enjoying this experience

In the end, deciding to neither cry nor show enjoyment

Having fun in her bubble bath later that night.  

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