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German Christmas Memories of Saint Nicholas

by Helen
(Powassan, Ontario)

One German Christmas memory that comes to mind is when I was very young. On Saint Nicholas Day, December 6, I would wake up to find sweet treats in my shoe at my bedside. It probably wasn't too long before I would notice that some toys were missing. These toys were either worn or broken. A favorite doll might also have disappeared.

But wonder of wonders, come Christmas Eve, besides new toys, clothes, etc., those toys that were broken or needed paint were fixed; and my missing doll was sporting new clothes. Only those toys that were beyond repair stayed gone.

Apparently, Saint Nicholas picked up those toys, and the Weihnachtsman (Christmasman or Father Christmas) repaired them and brought them back.

Here are two poems I used to recite every Christmas Eve. I've translated them into English (only they don't rhyme!)

Lieber guter Nickolaus,
Schau mich nicht so boese an.
Stecke deine Rute ein.
Ich will immer artig sein.


Good Nicholaus,
Don't look at me so angry.
Put your cane away.
I will be good always.

The second is:

Denkt Euch, ich habe das Christkind gesehen.
Es kam aus dem Wald das Muetzchen voll Schnee.
Die kleinen Haendchen taten ihm weh.
Den es trug einen Sack der war gar schwer
Und schleppte und polterte hinter ihm her.
Was drinnen ist moechtet ihr wissen?
Ihr Naseweis, ihr schelmenpack
Meint ihr er waere offen der Sack?
Zugebunden bis oben hin.
Da war gewiss was schoenes drin.
Es roch so nach Aepfel und Nuesse.


The Christkind mentioned in this poem appears as an Angel at the Christkindel Markets in Germany. He also gives out gifts.

Guess what? I saw the Christchild.
He came out of the forest, his little cap full of snow.
His hands were sore
Because it was carrying a sack that was very heavy
And was dragging it behind him.
You want to know what was in it?
Do you think it was open?
You nosey ones.
It was tied securely,
But there was an aroma of apples and nuts.

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Dec 16, 2010
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Denkt Euch, ich habe das Christkind gesehen.
by: Monica B

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My grandmother taught me this poem and I used to recite it when I was little (we lived in Germany then)and once we left my mother and I would say it together because I couldn't remember all the words. She passed away 2 years ago and I have been searching all over the internet to find it. Last year I wasn't so lucky... Christmas for me just isn't Christmas without it!

Nov 23, 2010
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Heimweh ...
by: Renate

"Denkt Euch, ich habe das Christkind gesehen" - my little sister and I used to recite that poem with our Mom when we were very little. A long time ago. How beautiful to find it quoted here! (Wipes tear off cheek) Thanks for sharing!

Dec 19, 2009
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Wonderful Idea
by: Carla

I love this idea! I don't have children, but I'm going to pass it on to my good friend. What a wonderful way to learn it is not always about more and new, but keeping what is treasured.

Dec 01, 2009
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Christmas Memories
by: Gerhild

What nice memories. I didn't know that St. Nick also took old and broken toys. Seems like he had a "recycle and renew" exchange policy going on with Santa Clause!

Thanks for sharing with us!
Frohe Weihnachten!

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Words to the Wise

"When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful."

Proverbs 29:18 (NLT)