So kids. This is, I think, how it'll go down from now.
The good St Nickolas (or Mikulas) will arrive sometime on the night of December 6th (knocking politely on the door once you are safely sleeping so as not to risk getting stuck in the Chimney) and fill your stockings with little goodies. And then on the eve of the 25th you will get your Christmas presents when the Christ Child fills all our hearts with love that overflows into presents.
Phew. Done. Dusted.
It took a bit of thinking. Should presents arrive on Christmas Eve (like in your daddy's family), Christmas morning (like mine), beneath the tree (like your daddy's family), in the stocking (like mine). Sigh. So many decisions. And then the fear that we're going to make the wrong decision and be stuck with it for every single year from now on?
Anyway, we're going with the Czech/Hungarian way - not that we have any links there but I based it on a favourite children's book The Good Master by Kate Seredy, I decided that it appealed to me the most.
A friend came around recently and was talking about when she lived in Italy it was a witch La Befana who brought the presents... and then everyone celebrates her burning... but I'm hoping her burning wasn't widely celebrated and a cursory google has Le Befana lost in the stars rather than burnt. (According to take one of the Great Sage of Google Le Befana met the wise men but was busy, and delayed seeing the baby Jesus and missed out, so ever since then she has been giving Children gifts.)
Latvia has 12 days of gift giving... which sounds lovely and very festive... but it could get a bit expensive (and stressful.)
So this is it.
Last night we put out our stocking and lit some sparklers (for a more festive feel) and sang some carols and watched a youtube of Twas the Night before Christmas and had a very brief talk about St Nickolas and voila... this morning St Nickolas had visited this very house!
He didn't bring very big presents (they all had to fit in the stocking) but the things that he did bring were much appreciated (most especially the gingerbread...)
So we're giving it a tentative thumbs up.
Thank you St Nickolas! (or Mikulas!)