It is wonderful how traditions evolve from when you were a child yourself to when you have your own little family. As a child we always celebrated St. Nicholas' day on 6th December. We would always wake up to plates of colourful foil wrapped chocolate Santas or coins. Now with my children, on the night of 5th we write to St. Nicholas with their wish list for Christmas morning and leave them out with a glass of milk, some cookies and an apple or two for Rudolf. As soon as they are finished getting the table ready, the kids rush up to bed so that they are asleep before the big man himself appears in the house and rings the Christmas bell on the landing. This year they woke up to a sewing kit each and a small plate of treats. This for our family marks the beginning of Christmas.
But now with my children we have our Advent calendar on the stairs. We spend a long afternoon decorating it with holly, pine cones, cinnamon, lights and ribbons. Patrick and Lucy each hang their own little red bag from the side. Two of Santa's Elves sit in the evergreen trees in front of our house and watch to see if they go to bed on time and behave well during the day. If the have, then when they awake the next morning they will find that the Elves have come in and left a little chocolate sweet in each of their bags.
Christmas with the kids is so magical. I just love it!