Ready for St. Nicholas

In the Netherlands the feast St. Nicholas is an important part of life. Unlike in most countries where gifts are exchanged at Christmas, th...

In the Netherlands the feast St. Nicholas is an important part of life. Unlike in most countries where gifts are exchanged at Christmas, the Dutch exchange gifts on the fifth of December. Part of the tradition is making your own gifts and writing a poem to accompany the gift. You can read a good description of the Dutch celebrations and customs of the feast of St. Nicholas here.

One of the Dutch miniatures websites is holding its annual St. Nicholas Swap. Each participant draws a name and has to make a miniature gift for that person. The recipient will not know who made the gift, so part of the fun is in trying to decipher the clues and find out who your secret St. Nicholas is. Of course I have made a miniature gift for someone too and have sent it off already. Nooo, I can't show you a picture here for fear of discovery! However, I can show you the beautiful gift I received last year from Jody:

With a view to St. Nicholas I bought a pair of cowboy boots at the Philadelphia Miniaturia a few weeks ago. I thought they were very cute as they're a bit old and used already, but also a wonderful souvenir from my trip! But really, they are perfect for St. Nicholas Eve, just think how many gifts a pair of boots will hold!

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  1. The boots are incredible ! San Nicola is celebrated in South Italy as well and we use boots and socks at the Epiphany when the Befana will come to fill them up with swets and coal and onions if you have not well behaved. I love these raditions. Rosanna

  2. That little gift is wonderful! And I love how the boots are worn looking. I hope they will be filled with mini sweets and not mini onions!

  3. The little box with the doll is so precious! Still a few days away, but I hope your preparation for St Nicholas Day goes well and that your boots will be filled with happiness!

  4. Your purchase is gorgeous and so is Jody's gift! I am having a headache trying to think of what to make for my swap partner who's not really into miniatures! You must be into shoes in real life, Josje. I see they are one of your oft purchases and you have incredibly good taste in picking the to die for ones.

  5. those are amazing boots, so real!I'm still surprised about how many gifted artisans there are out there, so many wonderful miniature things to do

  6. The little doll in the box is so so beautiful! She looks as if she has many secrets to tell.

  7. That's a good one Rosanna, coal and onions if your bad, haha. In years gone by kids in Holland could get a whipping with a bunch of twigs, called the 'roe', and be told they'd be put in the sac (the hessian one in which the presents are brought to the good kids) and then taken away to Spain. Of course that is no longer thought of as pedagogically correct :)

    Oh Sans, I also find it very difficult to think of something to make for a swap partner especially when you don't really know the person.
    You're right about the shoes, I do like them in real life too!

    Begoña, isn't it wonderful to be surprised like that time after time?

  8. Hello dear Josje~ ((( Thank you ))) so much for visiting my new mini blog and for your note about my animals. I am (((so))) glad I found you too. I will visit you today and go back to your early posts as i see that there is much for me to enjoy here. Have a lovely afternoon, smiles~Tita

  9. You have a lovely tradition in Holland! I like the part that you are supposed to make the gift yourself and the poem. Makes it so much more personal.

    Both the boots and the doll are just beautiful. You've got such a great eye in finding treasures!

  10. What amazing miniatures - your St. Nick is beautiful! Happy holidays!

  11. I used to collect miniatures. I wonder where my "stuff" went. I used to have some wonderful things.... hmmmmm you have me thinking now.

    LOVE the cowboy boots. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas! Charlene

  12. Hi Patricia - Tita- nice to see you here too. I had a quick look at you weblog again this weekend and saw some more wonderful work. Keep it coming!

    Hi hannajaleijona, yes, part of the fun is in making stuff yourself. Although most of the gifts are usually bought (of course with the Swap you have to make it yourself) it is tradition to write a poem to accompany the gift. In the poem you can make good humoured fun of the recipient, or talk about their life, hobbies or the gift itself. Also the gift is often disguised as and hidden inside a 'surprise'. To make the 'surprises' half the population in Holland is busily crafting the week before St. Nicholas. Of course this is all done in secret. It is so much fun!
    I just realised my ten year old son made a miniature scene as a 'surpise' for one of his classmates this year. I will post a picture of it.

  13. Thank you Gypsy, Happy Holidays to you too!

    Oooh Charlene, I wonder what happenend to your miniature collection? Who knows you might get back into it. Merry Christmas!