Happy St. Nicholas Day!

The big boys are away this weekend and MAP, Matt and I were pretty tired out after our fun outing yesterday to Kempton, so I did not get my act together and get Matt to put his slippers and his brothers’ slippers on the hearth to get filled with treats last night.

Heck, I completely forgot to pick up the treats that I was going to pick up at the store. Nothing complicated, just the traditional mix of chocolate gold coins, an orange or clementine, and maybe some ginger cookies. Speculoos were a frequent addition to our schoolroom St. Nicholas gifts when I was attending elementary school in Belgium and apparently they’re becoming easier to get in this country, so it could have been fun to introduce the kids to them this year.

Alas, parent fail.

St. Nicholas was something we looked forward to in addition to Christmas growing up in Belgium, especially St. Nicholas’ visits to the school or finding him in the grocery store. He’s basically the equivalent of the mall Santa in parts of northern Europe. What’s even more fun is that he usually travels by donkey, and often there’s either a live donkey, or some folks dressed in a donkey suit accompanying St. Nicholas during visits.

The traditional songs about the donkey were my favorites growing up. Many a resounding chorus of “Bourricot! Bourricotin!” rang around the school yard during this season. I have some vague pangs of regret about not teaching my kids those songs and anchoring this tradition for them more firmly.

St. Nicholas and Bourricot