Lustig, lustig tra la la la la hoit est Niklas namen tag! Don’t quote me on that German, but happy Saint Nicholas Day!
Unlike every other child on my street or in my classes growing up, December 6th was always met with anticipation and excitement each year. It was far more than just another day between where I was and Christmas.
As soon as dusk began to fall my brothers and I would take turns racing down the hall to peer out our front windows, onto the brick steps below.
“Did he come yet?”
“Do you see anything?”
The rest of us would ask as the scout returned.
“Not yet,” was the usual response to the first dozen or so attempts. But at some point, usually after supper, one of us would be lucky enough to spot a ribbon o a bow or a glistening gift on the front step and shout, “he came!”
The rush of little feet would follow and suddenly we would all be out on the step, sometimes barefoot, sometimes in the snow, but always smiling as we picked up and inspected the four bags, trying to determine which one belonged to us.
Inside we’d find nuts and fruit, homemade cookies and chocolate bars, beautiful ornaments and of course candy canes and hot chocolate. At this point, any homework would be long forgotten as we sang carols, sipped hot cocoa and chowed down on our delicious treats.
Although I’m no longer at home and my brothers all live more than 400 miles away, Saint Nicholas Day has not lost its magic.
The idea of cookies arriving on my doorstep is one of the best I can think of at pretty much any time, but at the start of winter and in the midst of one of the most stressful times, it is nothing short of blessed.
As I got older I realized that was something I wanted others to experience too (and perhaps continue experiencing myself…thanks mom!). While classmates and friends would go out, my Friday night activity for many weeks in high school became packing care packages.
To my brothers, cousins, former teammates and many other friends the cookies were sent. I experimented with flavors and styles, found ways to extend shelf life (I highly recommend instant pudding mix) and pack them better for the journey. As I walked into the post office, I never failed to impress the workers with a toppling pile of oddly wrapped parcels.
“You’re sending all these?” they’d ask.
“Everyone deserves a cookie,” was the best response I ever came up with.
A love for care packages became a defining part of me. I wrote college essays about it and I’m pretty sure I worked it into my AP English exam.
When I got to college it all sort of slowed to a halt. I didn’t have the means to bake cookies or send packages and I often found myself the recipient of such parcels (which was wonderful) far more often than I sent them.
This year, however, back in a house with a fully equipped kitchen and Saint Nicholas day just around the corner I decided to begin again.
Sunday night found me surround by cooling cookies, covered in flour, chocolate chips in my mouth, over 10 boxes in front of me to fill and wrap and singing loudly (sorry roommates). It certainly seemed like a better challenge than my homework.
On Monday afternoon, I rushed to the post office, waited in the line and spent nearly 25 minutes helping the post office worker label and sort all my packages. I hope some of them made it despite her assurances that my wrapping job was completely inadequate.
Today, I woke up to find a package on my doorstep. Inside I found fuzzy socks, a nice big apple, Teddie’s Peanut Butter (even Saint Nick knows) and, of course, delicious looking cookies. It couldn’t have been a better start to the day.