Monday, December 06, 2010

Warming up to Christmas

Xmas Stockings from Ann Norling
I often think that Dec 6, the feast of St. Nicholas, is a bit like the "warm-up" band before the appearance of the big name concert band.  You know the band that gets everyone in the mood so that the stars don't have to. Santa (St.) Claus (cholas) is actually St. Nicholas. He is celebrated more in Holland on Dec 6, when children get small gifts left in their socks or shoes. Even now, though, there is a move afoot to push the gift giving over there to Dec 25.
Knitted gingerbread House from Infiknit

St. Nicholas has gone through several image makeovers from 347AD to the present. For many years he was the "Father Christmas" figure of a bishop (he's wearing red, so maybe it's a cardinal) in a mitered hat. Generally he was seen as thin and gaunt - abstaining from excesses, perhaps. Most recently, 1931 to be exact, however, St Nicholas became the Santa Claus of the Coca Cola ad campaign. Suddenly he was robust, with round cheeks and an even rounder belly, obviously enjoying the excesses!
Fair Isle Stockings from Maggie's Rags

Well, not all subscribe to this image. At the annual world Santa Claus Congress held just outside of Copenhagen, you will find Claus' of all descriptions, including some entirely in white and others entirely in black!

Dinner? Well, I couldn't find any traditional St. Nick's Eve dishes; but I found a link to a website of Danish recipes which sound absolutely delicious! Feed your inner Dane.

The pictures are of knitted Christmas Stockings and a knitted Gingerbread House that can fit over a candy dish. Practice some candy and cookie eating now so you'll be ready for Christmas.

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