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December 4th, 2009 – Day Four

December 4, 2009

The faces of Santa on my tree:

In the Netherlands on the evening of December 5, Sinterklaas brings presents to every child that has been good in the past year. Sinterklaas wears a red bishop’s dress including a red mitre, and rides a white horse over the rooftops of the houses.

The Dutch brought Saint Nicholas to America, where the saint was gradually morphed from the solemn bishop to a ‘jolly old elf’ called Santa Claus.

In Germany, children put a boot, called Nikolaus-Stiefel, outside their front doors on the night of December 5th. Saint Nicholas fills the boot with gifts for the good children.  The bad children will have charcoal in their boots instead.

In Sweden and Denmark, children wait eagerly for Jultomten, a gnome whose sleigh is drawn by the Julbocker, the goats belonging to Thor, the god of thunder. Elves called Juul Nisse are said to come from the attic, where they live, to help Julomten. Children put a saucer of milk or rice pudding in the attic for them.

In Syria children’s gifts come from the youngest camel on January 6th, which is Three Kings Day.  In many Spanish-speaking countries, the Three Kings leave the gifts for the children.

In Russia the gift bearer is called Baboushka.  She gave the wise men the wrong directions and on the eve of Three Kings Day she wanders from house to house, leaving gifts for the children.


One Comment leave one →
  1. December 5, 2009 2:27 am

    Oh, my gosh! This year? These are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I have to link to this as soon as I get time to write another post. This is totally amazing. What a magic world you live in. And thanks for the text — it’s illuminating!

    I have been collecting ornaments for a long, long time. Each one of my kids gets an ornament in their St. Nick stocking every year, so I have those to put on my tree too. At least I did… this year my daughter has moved out and has her own tree, so she took her twenty ornaments with her! She has a couple Santa ornaments that I didn’t get to photograph before they left. Oh well.

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