This is post #6 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.
Growing up, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day by putting our shoes outside of our bedroom the night before. When we awoke, St. Nick would have stopped by, depositing candy, coins and other such treats inside our shoes.
After crawling into bed and dozing off one night when I was 7 years old, I awoke with a start in the middle of the night. I had forgotten that the next day was St. Nicholas Day! I hurriedly pulled out my saddle shoes (part of my school uniform) and stuck them outside my door, praying that I hadn’t done so too late.
You can imagine what awaited me when I awoke: empty shoes. I was absolutely despondent.
I ran into the kitchen crying to my mom — St. Nicholas had missed me! Was I horrible child? Was it because I put my shoes out too late?
My mom had a stricken look on her face (guess who else had forgotten). You know what happened next.
It was early and my mom couldn’t think of anything else to tell me. She sat me down, hugged me and told me the truth about St. Nick and about Santa (they were both the same being and separate, in my 7-year-old mind).
Of course, then it all came crashing down. “You mean, the Easter Bunny? The Tooth Fairy too?” My mom just nodded and then gave me a very stern look. “Don’t you even think about telling your little sister.”
I was warned not to tell anyone at school either — my mom explained that many of the other students would still believe and it wasn’t for me to explain the truth. Of course, the notion of Santa came up several times in school between that day and Christmas. It was all I could do not to blurt out the truth.