December 07, 2015

Celebrating Nikolaus (or the German-English Christmas debate)

Most of the year the Englishman and I, apart from the odd cultural hick-up, get along just nicely. We are a pretty good English-German collaboration, I must say.

Come Christmas, however, things change around here. In our household #t’istheseason not only to celebrate but also debate: When should we open presents (24th and 25th!)? What’s better store-bought chocolate advent calendar or hand-crafted countdown (hand-crafted)? What’s with the stuffing that never makes it into the turkey (???), and why, oh why, do we have to clean our shoes on the 5th of December?

This is the toughest question of them all, yet, it’s the only one where I will not retreat. Because on the 6th is Nikolaustag in Germany and children with mucky shoes will not get any sweets! All you need to do to get into Sankt Nikolaus good book is clean your shoes and you will be rewarded with presents, fruits and nuts. I have followed this rule now for nearly 30 years and it never failed. Well, maybe there was this one year when even my spotless boots didn't get me out of the naughty book. Most of the time though, it's a pretty good deal.

Only, the Englishman doesn’t think so. He hates Sankt Nikolaus, because he makes him clean his shoes.So when Saturday night (the 5th this year) came round and it was time to get the boots out and the polish ready, the moaning started.

Do we have to?
Yes
Does it really matter?
What do you mean, does it matter?
Can we not skip Nikolaus this year?

Skip Nikolaus???? Oh no! I might have committed myself to an all English Christmas this year, but I will NOT give up Nikolaustag. And anyway, our boots and shoes have done us a great service throughout the year and deserve a good clean!

So I made the Englishman clean his shoes. And guess what: He made it into the good book again!

What’s your annual festive debate about? 
And what are your childhood traditions that you just can't give up?

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