I LOVE Christmas! and living in Europe is great cause it's cold and all Christmas and you can have a fire and holly and maybe even snow.... I heard someone playing carols in the metro station yesterday and got this warm feeling.... Christmas is coming! Brad always says that I should have been American cause then I could really go over the top and not seem strange.
My kids still believe in Santa, and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny etc. and I'm very glad cause it means they are still innocent enough to believe in these magical creatures of childhood.
In Belgium, on St. Nicholas' Eve, December 5th, or the weekend before, children put their shoes or small baskets at the hearth or beside the door with carrots, turnips, and a sugar lump for the saint's horse and a glass of wine for the saint. There may also be a picture they've drawn (or a list) showing what they would like. They believe St. Nicholas rides on horseback over the rooftops, dropping his gifts down the chimneys. In the morning shoes have been filled with chocolates, spiced speculoos cookies shaped like the saint and Piet, oranges, marzipan, and toys. In the spirit of St. Nicholas, treats are meant to be shared, not hoarded. Bad children, of which there are none, would find twigs. Since the sixties, however, such negative and frightening aspects have faded away in Flanders. In French-speaking Wallonia St Nicolas comes, as well, where he is often accompanied by a donkey and Père Fouettard, as in France. Some places celebrate similarly to that in Germany. Everywhere in Belgium speculoos shaped like the saint is very popular.
Since our kids go to a French school they are very much aware of this event (not that you can miss it, it's everywhere you go) so they get presents twice in December. (on a much smaller scale for St. Nicolas, but they still get something).
So, like all kids they have been busy writing their letters to Santa (cause he's the one who brings the most presents) asking for all the things they want. All the shops advertisements are being read from cover to cover and pictures cut out to send along with their letters. The other afternoon while driving home they were having a discussion between the 2 of them as to what they would all like when Riley mentioned that she would really like a piano.
Well Riley how do you suppose Santa would fit a piano down the chimney I asked (thinking I've just found a very good excuse for not buying her a piano) O that's no problem she replied, don't you know that Santa can do magic. He makes everything very small to fit down the chimney and then it pop's back to normal size!
There goes that excuse!