Thank you St. Nicholas!

Yesterday I celebrated St. Nicholas eve with my family.  The old Saint has been very generous to us (as always I should say) and we had enormous fun while opening our presents.   I received a couple of very small packages which, as you can imagine, made me very happy. 

In one of the gifts I found this beautiful antique opalesque glass and enamelled vase.  It is French, made around the turn of the last century.  I photographed it in the upstairs hallway (which I have nearly finished, but more on that later),  the colours go so well together.  Thank you St. Nicholas!

In another small package I found a box chock-full of old Chinese mother of pearl gambling chips.  These are so very pretty, they all have different little designs on them.   I keep getting new ideas of how to use them for my miniatures.  I love these!  Thank you St. Nicholas!

In the next few photos I will show you a not-so-little gift I received.  My Dutch readers will probably recognize it immediately, as it is a well known part of our St. Nicholas tradition.  The feast of St. Nicholas has been celebrated for centuries in the Netherlands.  Many centuries ago, it became a feast celebrated within the family.  As the children received their gifts anonymously (as the Saint originally did as well), their gifts were covered with a sack, the first letter of their names placed on top it to indicate who it was for. 

For a long time now gifts are wrapped and the names are written on the wrapping paper. The idea of the first letter of the name has still remained, and we now get our initial in chocolate.   These chocolate letters are available only around St. Nicholas time.

In my family it is no secret that I love, love, love a certain brand of chocolate, and when I get a big chocolate initial it usually doesn't last the day.  The rest of the year I have to do without (which is probably for the best).  Until now.  One of my gifts was a big, heavy box.  When I opened it I found this:

My first and last name spelled in chocolate letters!  14 of them!  And my favourite brand! 

St. Nicholas thought this would last me the whole year, so about one per month on average (yeah, like that is going to happen).

I am not sure whether or not to thank the old man for this ;)  Thank goodness he also gave me new exercise clothes, although the size on one of them was XXL.  Maybe he can see into the future?  Oh, I surely hope not!


  1. Oh, wow, I love chocolate too!!!! Well ,that should last you more than a year I hope!!!!!

  2. Cute chocolates! I never saw them before. I think it's a great idea.
    I love the chinese pieces.

  3. What wonderfull gifts Josje! The vase is gorgeous and the mother-of-pearl chips might come handy for a miniature project someday...maybe for your silver(workshops)? And your first and last name in chocolate, luckily you have a short first name. So you can stay out of those XXL....what was he thinking!!

  4. Ha ha ha ,dat is leuk een hele naam ia letters, ik zou ze niet allemaal achter elkaar opeten al ik jou was anders wordt het toch een XXXL maat dit jaar.
    Wat een mooie kado's heb je gehad.

  5. This post is wonderful, in that I've learned so many facts about this holiday I don't know too much about, as well as seeing how lovely it is that you've been gifted so beautifully and thoughtfully. It gives a great warm feeling! And also love the humour of the XXL exercise clothes.

  6. Elga, I seriously doubt that it will last me a year. The first one is gone already ;)

    Thanks Drora. The chocolate letters are typically Dutch I think, and only available at St. Nicholas time!

    Jeffry, I didn't even think of siver yet! Great possibilities! I was thinking of wooden boxes with these as inlays or something like that.
    I don't know what he was thinking, he knows these things are like a drug to an addict like me. Good thing my name isn't Josefientje or something like that, hahaha.

    Dank je Maria. Ik ga heel erg mijn best doen om er langer dan een paar weken mee te doen, een maand of twee moet toch wel lukken...

    Sandy, this celebration is all about family, fun and yes of course, gifts as well. Basically St. Nicholas and Santa Claus are the same person. Over the years their stories have just developed differently. Santa Claus is a 'corruption' of the the Dutch name for St. Nicholas, Sinterklaas.
    Yes, the size of the exercize clothes had us all in tears from laughter. Lets see if I can still laugh about it next year, hahaha!

  7. Ohhh!! wat een hoop letters, haha!Heerlijk, om zo'n voorraad te hebben.
    De vaas is heel mooi en ik vind die mooie parelmoer chips ook prachtig, ik ben heel benieuwd wat je daar in de toekomst mee gaat doen.

    Groetjes, Alexandra.

  8. i couldn't resist breaking into a huge grin when i saw the chocolate in your hands....i thought the boxes were of small chocolate pieces! thanks for sharing this adorable part of your life, it's very heartwarming (i am still grinning)

    Happy Holidays!!!

  9. Hello Josje,
    I'm glad you got such lovely presents. The vase is SPECTACULAR! I think it's honstly one of the most beautiful pieces I've ever seen!
    Don't worry about all the chocolate...making miniatures burns a lot of calories!
    All the best,

  10. WOW!!!! What great gifts! I LOVE the game chips. Ooooooh I can think of lots of ways to use those! They would be beautiful mixed with some silver work. I know you will do something wonderful with those.

  11. Whaha, the old man has humor.We all got about four letters each here, and we thought that was a lot haha I recall I'd made miniature ones a few years ago for a Sint Swap
    The other gifts are nice as well. The vase is so up your sleeve, i can see why Sint found a suitable gift. Got some mother of pearl too and it's magical. Like yours it screams for projects. Can't wait to see what you will do with it.
    Enjoy the Theobromide inside your letters :D

  12. Oh! how wonderful! St. Nicholas was very, very generous with you!
    The vase is beautiful!
    Perhaps the Chinese mother of pearl chips, can be used as mats in an elegant table?
    but the most beautiful gift, I think, is a whole year of chocolate! and the funny thing is that you can not avoid eating it all, before it ruins ... a good excuse to gain weight a little, and wear your new dress XXL ... is not your fault, if your name is so long ... ha ha!
    my package is still on the road for you? you have not yet received it?
    I hope you get soon, please let me know, thanks!
    Many wishes for a Merry Christmas!
    xxx Caterina

  13. Holy chocolate heaven!!! :O Enjoy!

  14. I loved seeing all your gifts......but, being such a chocolate lover myself I would not know if receiving so much chocolate would be a delight or a!!!! I would love it....but my hips and thighs would possibly shreak with!!!! When I was reading your post I hoped a pair of jogging shoes also came with the!!

    I enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions......beautiful!!

  15. A post that make us smile a lot :).
    Wonderful, thoughtful, special and fun gifts.
    Right now, it started to snow here.

  16. Your gifts are wonderful love the mother of pearl chips. Wow chocolate letters never heard of this before lol wish they had them here they look yummy. Enjoy your gifts.
    Hugs Maria

  17. Lovely, yummy gifts
    The letters are huge! I didn't think they were so big.
    The vase and chips are so elegant and I can only imagine what you'll do out of them.
    My little helper is Margherita, my cousin's eldest daughter aged 10.
    She had a lot of fun at the fair cos she joined the kids workshop and she went around with her mum all the day long.
    Definitely this will be my last fair as an exhibitor. It is not worth making it if you cannot play and enjoy the minis.
    More over it's too stressfull making minis on a schedule if you have to do them at night and neglect your family.
    Nope, next time I'll go to KDF it will be only to have fun :o)
    Same for Simp, time for fairs is ended for me, now it's play time.
    Best wishes, Rosanna

  18. Wat een verwennerij!!
    De vaas is weer echt een aanwinst en de chocoladeletters, je kan in ieder geval weer een paar dagen voort hi, hi

  19. Beautiful gifts, Josje. Just enjoy the chocolates and take a long daily walk. That should take care of it. The vase is magnificent! I'm looking forward to seeing what you will be doing with the chips. As for the oversize outfit, the walk should eliminate your ever having to wear it! LOL!

  20. Congratulations on your wonderful gifts! The St. Nicholas Day tradition is very nice!

  21. Someone obviously knows you very well to give you all that chocolate! I think the little mother of pearl pieces are very interesting and I'm keen to see how you use them.

  22. Dank je wel Alexandra. Ik weet het nog niet, maar er valt me ongetwijfeld iets in binnenkort.

    Snowfern, miniature ones would have been just as welcome, and much healthier for me :)

    Giac, we've been doing some research on the vase and it looks like the glasswork Legras made. There is a very faint signature on the bottom, but we can't make it out.
    Miniature making burns a lot of calories? I believe you. So now I will go and do some work on one of my rooms and eat another letter ;)

    Catherine, yes the game chips are really nice. These are very thin as well so perfect for miniature use. I'm doing a silver class with Jens in March again, so maybe I can do something with them then. Years ago I found a bigger one on the pavement, with very pretty carving on it. It lives on the mantle of the study in my canal house.

    Debora, yes, four is a lot as well. Funny thing is I will only eat the Droste ones. Last year I received a Verkade letter and it is still in the fridge. Droste must put something in there which I cannot resist. I am really like an addict, except that when they are gone, I don't go out trying to get more, haha.
    I remember the beautiful little letter you made a few years ago. I still haven't made one in miniature. I have saved many boxes to copy though! (and now I have even more boxes).

  23. Thank you Brea!

    Linda, yes it is really bad for me as well. Good thing this is only once a year.
    These are not Christmas traditions though, St.Nicholas has nothing to do with Christmas. In al the stories around the world the figure has become Santa Claus and somehow the gift giving has gone to Christmas. Here in Holland these are two different things though and have nothing to do with one and other. Kids here do not believe in Santa Claus but in Sinterklaas. The American way of celebrating is coming over here now as well, but I think this is a commercial thing most of all, even though people do quite like it.

    Glad that made you smile Mona! No snow here yet, the temperatures are too high still. A lot of wind (storm!) and rain though. I hope you are keeping warm.

    Maria, oh yes, the letters are yummy, but basically they are just huge lumps of chocolate ;)

    Rosanna, it must have been fun to have some of your family with you at the fair. I can imagine the stress you have had to prepare for these fairs, and that you don't want to do it anymore! If you can't enjoy it, then why do it? It is the reason I don't like to be a seller, there is too much stress if you have to work on a deadline. I do like Etsy though, because you can just make whenever and whatever you like, at your own pace. Having said that, I have not yet made a single sing to sell there! I think I registered three years ago thinking I would do that, haha.

  24. Sylvia, nou ik kan er met gemak twee per dag op, haha! Dus dan kan ik een week vooruit....(oh wat errrrrug!!!)

    Lucille, well I just checked them and they are about 750 calories each, so that will have to be a very very long walk ;)

    Thank you Anda!

    Irene, St. Nicholas has a great big book where he writes down all sorts of information on people, so of course he knows about my love for these letters ;) As for the mother of pearl chips, a little idea is starting to form in my head...

  25. Those little mother of pearl gaming chips would make such lovely plates. They are beautiful. What treasures. -heather


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