December 6 is St. Nicholas Day. This is a day that takes me right back to the wonderful traditions we were introduced to when we lived in Germany when my boys were growing up. Ever since this time The Feast of St. Nicholas has been a highlight of my Christmas Season.
So who is St. Nicholas?
Although they are depicted as dressing similarly, he should not be confused with Santa Claus (who Germans call the Weihnachtsmann) or Father Christmas. Nicolas of Myra (died December 6, 346) was a Greek Christian bishop known for miracles and giving secret gifts. He is now the patron saint of little children, sailors, merchants and students. It is thought that the beliefs and traditions that have grown up around Nikolas were probably combined with German mythology, particularly regarding stories about the bearded pagan god Odin, who also had a beard and a bag to capture naughty children.
The custom of putting shoes or stockings out on the evening of December 5 began because of the historical St. Nicholas’s reputation for leaving secret gifts in people’s shoes overnight. It is said that children only put one shoe or stocking out so as not to appear to be greedy. According to the legend, Nikolaus arrives in the middle of the night, riding a horse or donkey and leaves small treats, like coins, chocolates, nuts or fruit, Nicholas candies or cookies, small toys, in the shoe or stocking of good children. Naughty children might receive nothing or a switch to symbolize punishment for their bad deeds. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared and not hoarded for oneself. Local customs will have different versions of this celebration but for all the children look forward to his visit. In many regions he is accompanied by a companion Ruprecht (also known as Schmutzli in Switzerland), who carries a bag or basket filled with edible goodies for the good children and switches for naughty children.
Certainly the way we experienced this celebration in Germany was that it was a feast of chocolate with my boys receiving these chocolate delights from their Omi, Aunts and Uncles and other close friends.
This year I decided to create a special blend around St. Nicholas. So what do I put in this blend?
Traditionally the stockings or shoes are filled with edible items like Oranges or Mandarins; Chocolates; Peppermint Candy Canes; Gingerbread Cookies (spiced with cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg) and some families might also include a small toy or gift. Looking at this list I already have a list of essential oils to choose from for my blend: Sweet orange, Mandarin, Cocoa, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger and Nutmeg could all reflect the essence of this day and make a great blend for the whole Holiday Season too!
I did think about a cocoa and peppermint blending probably using equal amounts of each oil, but in the end I decided to go for a citrus-spicy blend instead. I made up 5 ml of the undiluted blend and I will be using it in my diffuser. It would also be great in a reed diffuser or as a mist spray (For every 125 ml water, hydrosol or alcohol in your spray bottle add 20 drops of essential oil synergy).
St. Nicholas Synergy
Sweet Orange 4 parts
Cinnamon 1 part
Nutmeg 1 part
Clove 1 part
Ginger 2 parts