When I was a child, our family observed St. Nicholas Day on the 6th of December.  We placed our shoes outside the front door with a carrot in the shoe to feed St. Nicholas’ horse. According to the legend, depending if the child had been good or bad, they would receive candy or switches in their shoes.

I had 5 siblings.  I had a brother one year older and another brother one year younger.  We were a mischievous trio. The remaining siblings were much younger.  At the time of this story, the little ones didn’t put shoes out.

The three of us thought this was a good way to stock up on sweets, as year after year we were rewarded.  We liked St. Nicholas’ day!  Bring it on!

Then one year, that changed. We must have been particularly boisterous that year, or maybe our parents had finally had enough of our bad behavior. We awoke and scrambled over each other to get outside to our shoes. Our parents followed right behind us. The three of us reached for our shoes and found, not the candy we expected, but switches–lots of switches!

We looked all through our shoes to find anything else, even just a little sour ball, anything to soften the blow. Nothing.

Silence reigned. We were stunned that we had been judged so harshly by a Saint, and that our parents had found out. After our parents left to make breakfast, we huddled and agreed St. Nick had made an accurate assessment. We vowed to change our ways and behave better to get back on that candy list. Sadly, our resolution didn’t last long.

Needless to say, after that, we three weren’t too eager for St. Nickolas Day.  Luckily, over the years, we all realized there were more things than candy to appreciate about Christmas and the holiday season.