24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 - St. Nicholas' Day

Door 14:  St. Nicholas’ Day


Task 1: Write a book wish list to St. Nick / Santa Claus for books that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify the expense of purchasing. (E.g., art books? Collector’s editions? Boxed sets?)


It's not so much art books or new releases for me but - going to opposite way - antiquarian books or ones that are out of print. I would love to have an original edition of Phyllis Bottome's The Lifeline, the book that, imo, gave life to James Bond. Last time I checked, a copy of the book would have set me back £250, which is not something I would like to justify when the book is available for free electronically...but still, I like the idea.


There are others, too. First editions of the Wimsey novels, Christie's works, or Tey's books. Some of these are not that much out of range when it comes to budget, but I would end up looking to complete sets and that would soon add up.  


Task 2: In the Netherlands, ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated with ginger biscuits, marzipan and hot chocolate with cream; in Germany, it’s St. Nicholas’ Day with gingerbread, chocolate and / or nut or almond cookies, chocolate candy, and tangerines (or oranges). Choose one or more of the above as a holiday snack and post a picture for us to drool over.




Task 3:  St. Nicholas is a man of many names in English alone – Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas … although in the English speaking world he only comes once (at Christmas, not also on December 6 – whereas in Germany and the Netherlands he makes his visits under different names on both occasions). Which of your favorite books were published under different titles in the same language, e.g., in North America vs. Britain? Have you ever bought a book under a title unfamiliar to you, only to discover belatedly that it was one you already own / had already read under a different title?


I actually can't remember if I ever have started a book only to find out that I had read it before. The only time I came close was when I bought an English version of a German book that I had forgotten I owned in German already. The title was Putting Away Childish Things by Uta Ranke-Heinemann, which I don't even regret having two copies of because it is excellent.


Task 4: A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick's Day is groups of three "people" – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick's Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not. Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem. The three "strangers" then decide if the children are telling the truth. The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil. So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.




Book: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.