When my husband and I married, we both came from houses that celebrated the Germanic tradition of St. Nicholas Day. Our traditions were slightly different.
The tradition of receiving treats on December 6th came to my family via a long tradition that stretched back to Germany via Russia. In the 18th century, Catherine the Great took power from her husband, Peter, and became ruler of Russia. She invited Germanic families settle the Volga region of Russia, hoping to make it a prosperous farming area and cement her hold over the lands there. The Germanic families were promised land, freedom to continue to speak their language and keep their religion, and exemption from military service. A very good deal in those time where wars seemed constant.
I took a genetic test, expecting to find some Russian among my genes, but the community had, indeed, been insular until the early 1900s when my great-grandparents saw the direction things were headed and left Russia for America.
My grandfather spoke German, although it was noticeably different from that spoken back in Germany, but was raised speaking English. He fondly remembered gathering with other families in their eastern Washington town and staying still and quiet when they bootsteps outside. There would be a knock at the door, and an older family member would bring in a bag of treats, including oranges and nuts.
Combining family traditions is a tricky thing. My husband’s family opened family presents on Christmas Eve, and only Santa’s was left for Christmas Day. In my family, we opened a single present Christmas Eve and all the rest on Christmas morning. With a little bit of negotiation, we established traditions that suited us, which included having the kids put boots outside their doors for St. Nicholas Day. The magic of putting out a boot, and finding it filled with treats by morning, thrilled the children. They chose their biggest boots and put letters to Santa in--a nice way to deliver it to him with enough time for the lists to be useful. As parents, we liked the fact that we didn’t have to go outside to gift the kids with candy, nuts, and oranges.
My husband insisted that nothing be pre-packaged. We didn’t want to compete with stockings at Christmas so we kept it simple with hand-made candy canes and chocolate coins. An assortment of nuts were in their complete shells, a marvel the children really only saw once a year. Early on, they’d ask for our help cracking the nuts. These days, they’re proficient.
Holiday traditions are best when they’re simple and enjoyable for everyone. It isn’t precisely the same tradition as my ancestors, but it works for our family and reminds us of the past.
Meant to Be KISSED
November 17, 2018
Historical ~ Regency ~ Holiday ~ Sweet Romance
Love sweet romance? Meant to Be – KISSED is a collection of short stories to sample Meant to Be Press romance authors.
“The Grand Gesture” by Lela Bay, takes a public humiliation and turns it into an act of heroism. Rosamund Windham, daughter to the duke, literally drops herself into a pool of filth to save an innocent and in the process befriends the girl’s brother. His sister quotes him as saying, “You can’t just throw two people together and expect sparks. It takes the right sorts, like flint and steel. They may not look like they go together until they hit up against each other. Then, sparks.”
“Miss Montague’s Winter Kiss” by Emmy Z. Madrigal turns sadness into hope. Grayson is a man who has lost everything, but Cecelia saves his life and rekindles his belief in love. Broken ice and traumatic losses give way to the start of something new, if only the hero can give up past hurts. As Emmy writes, “It was more of a feeling that, if the flame between them was fanned, they could be happy for the rest of their lives. He’d endured so much grief, she longed to bring him joy.”
Finally, as a bonus, check out the contemporary romance flash fiction from Meant to Be Press’s newest author M. M. Genet, “A Year and a Day.” Behold of the promise of the future.
Like the seasons, love has many variations, so let these stories inspire you to discard what holds you back and welcome new opportunities.
Lela Bay is the author of Ruined Reputations and appears in Meant to Be…Mine. She likes historical romances with sweetness and a touch of comedy. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys strolling, gardening, reading, and tea time with friends.