Bishop Nicholas dropped by church this morning. He came to remind us that we love because he first loved us, and that is why we are called to give generously this season. (1 John 4:19). Elizabeth clapped when she saw him.
Growing up in Belgium means that our family has adopted a few European customs. Among my favourite as a child was putting out my wooden shoe for a little bit of marzipan or chocolate, a tangerine, grapes, speculoos cookies and a small wrapped gift. My classmates actually received the bulk of their presents December 6th. I remember one young man telling us all about a bicycle he received, which I thought was rather silly as it obviously didn't fit in the shoe! I rather pitied those who had no stockings to look forward to a few weeks later.
When we moved back to Canada my parents suggested that St. Nicholas might have lost our address, but although I was a teenager by this time I was not ready to ditch the tradition. We'd leave out a turnip and a carrot for "the donkey", and as I got older I took great delight in being the donkey for my little sister. I think I decided that I'd have to marry my then-boyfriend Brendan when he helped me spit carrot bites all the way up our front entrance... My poor mother!
Apparently I'm a bit out of practice as some hopeful shoes in our house didn't get filled before the owners were awake due to a slight miscalculation about the date. Luckily St. Nicholas didn't rely on Elizabeth's parents for the shoe filling this year... Elizabeth was actually almost as excited about playing with the shoe as she was to open the present.
Elizabeth's first St. Nicholas present was a toy wiimote. Mommy, her friends Janice and Ruth, Auntie Yukiko, Grandma H and Grandma's friend went to sing the Messiah on Friday. Elizabeth stayed home and played the Wii version of DDR with Daddy and Auntie Janice. I guess someone noticed that the wiimote was a particularly fun toy...