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December 6


Saint of the day:
Saint Nicholas

Patron Saint of Baker, Brides, Children, Greece, Russia, Grooms, Pawnbrokers, Travelers, Sailors

Saint Nicholas’ Story

The absence of the “hard facts” of history is not necessarily an obstacle to the popularity of saints, as the devotion to Saint Nicholas shows. Both the Eastern and Western Churches honor him, and it is claimed that after the Blessed Virgin, he is the saint most pictured by Christian artists. And yet, historically, we can pinpoint only the fact that Nicholas was the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a city in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor.

As with many of the saints, however, we are able to capture the relationship which Nicholas had with God through the admiration which Christians have had for him—an admiration expressed in the colorful stories which have been told and retold through the centuries.

Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast. In the English-speaking countries, Saint Nicholas became, by a twist of the tongue, Santa Claus—further expanding the example of generosity portrayed by this holy bishop.





St Nicholas

(d. 350, Myra, Turkey) (Relics: Bari, Italy; Venice, Italy)

In 1993 a small grave was found on Gemiler Island east of Rhodes. Historians believe that the body of St Nicholas was originally buried in this grave and then subsequently transferred to Myra. From Myra the bones of St Nicholas were stolen by Italian merchants in 1087 and taken to the two Italian cities of Bari and Venice. The merchants from Bari raided the tomb first and in their haste they took only the large bone fragments. The Venetian merchants came later and took the remaining smaller bone fragments. A scientific study in 1992 confirmed that both collections are from the same skeleton.

Basilica di San Nicolo

(Basilica of Saint Nicholas)

Largo Abate Elia

70122 Bari, Italy

*Relics of St Nicholas rest within a small urn located under the altar in the crypt of this church.

San Nicolo al Lido

(Saint Nicholas at the Lido)

Riviera San Nicolo

30126 Venice, Italy

*Small bone fragments of St Nicholas rest within this church. They are placed within a beautiful funerary monument located in the main sanctuary. Three statues placed above this monument depict St Nicholas and two other saints whose relics are also preserved here.


Churches of Honor in Rome


San Nicola dei Prefetti

(Saint Nicholas of the Prefects)

Via dei Prefetti 34

Rome, Italy

*This church is north of the Pantheon. Both the church and an altar on the right side of the nave are dedicated to St Nicholas.

San Nicola in Carcere

(Saint Nicholas in Prison)

Via del Teatro di Marcello 46 / Via del Foro Olitorio

Rome, Italy

*This church is near Tiber Island. It is dedicated to St Nicholas.

La Maddalena (The Magdalene)

Piazza della Maddalena 53

Rome, Italy

*This church is just north of the Pantheon.

*The third chapel on the left side of the nave is dedicated to St Nicholas.

*In the third chapel on the right side of the nave are the remains of St Camillus de Lellis. He lived in the adjacent monastery and died here in 1614. His rooms can be visited by asking the sacristan. One of these rooms has been transformed into a chapel and contains the relic of his heart.


Santa Maria in Campitelli (Our Lady in Campitelli)

Piazza di Campitelli 9

Rome, Italy

*This church is near the Jewish quarter.

*The third chapel on the right side of the nave is dedicated to St Nicholas.

*The body of St John Leonardi (d. 1609) is enshrined in the second chapel on the left side of the nave.



German History and Fun!

Celtic Woman - O Tannenbaum

Royal Opera Ballet - The Nutcracker - Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy 


Songs of the season:

Harry Connick, Jr. '(It Must Have Been Ol') Santa Claus'

Harry Connick, Jr. - Parade of the Wooden Soldiers

Louis Armstrong cover - Zat You Santa Claus?

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus 

Santa Baby 

Meghan Trainor - I'll Be Home (Audio)

Mariah Carey - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town




Movies to Watch....
Rise of the Guardians

Movies to Watch....
The Santa Clause (1994) Original Trailer



Recipes & Crafts:

Make some cookies! Stained glass sugar cookies


Springerle Shortbread


  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


  1. Beat together the butter, sugars, and salt until light and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, and fold in the flour.

  2. Divide the dough in half, shape both halves into disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

  4. Working with one disk at a time, flour your work surface and roll the dough 1/4" thick.

  5. To shape cookies using a springerle pin: Brush a very light coating of flour onto the dough and your springerle pin. Slowly roll the springerle pin over the dough, pressing down hard enough to leave a good impression. Cut the cookies apart on the lines.

  6. To shape cookies using a springerle mold: Brush a very light coating of flour onto the dough and your springerle mold. Press the mold firmly into the dough, then remove and cut around the design with a knife or a fluted pastry wheel.

  7. Transfer the cut cookies to the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan.

Saint Nicholas Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 teaspoon almond milk

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

  • About 4 1/2 cups flour


  1. Melt the butter and set aside. 

  2. Beat the egg in a large bowl until the yolk and white are well mixed and fluffy.  

  3. Add the honey, milk, almond extract to the egg mixture and beat well.  

  4. Mix the brown sugar, spices, and salt.  

  5. Add to the egg mixture and beat until well mixed.  

  6. Add the melted butter slowly and beat until well mixed.

  7. Watch mom dump the flour in and make a BIG mess 

  8. Add the flour slowly until the cookie dough is solid enough to knead. 

  9. Transfer to your work surface and knead in more flour to make soft, slightly sticky dough. 

  10. Shape the cookie with a pattern, cookie cutter, or cookie mold. 

  11. Even though we do have a few various St. Nicholas Cookie Cutters, we opted to copy the pattern provided on the back of the book.

  12. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, or lower for especially thick cookies.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown around the edges.  

  13. Transfer to cookie racks and cool. 

  14. After the cookies have cooled, decorate with red and white icing.  



Spitzbuben Cookies

  • 300 g flour

  • 100 g almonds ground

  • 150 g powdered sugar

  • 1 dash salt

  • 1 package vanilla sugar

  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (organic)

  • 200 g butter

  • 1 egg

  • 200 g red currant jelly

  • powdered sugar for dusting


Baking Instructions Spitzbuben Cookies

  1. Sift flour into a bowl.

  2. add almonds, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla sugar, lemon zest, grated butter and egg on top.

  3. by using kneading hooks first, then with hands, knead until you get a smooth dough that is not sticky. Add some flour if it should be sticky.

  4. form a ball or roll,  wrap in foil, keep in fridge for 2 hours.

  5. layer baking trays with parchment paper.

  6. pre-heat oven to 350 F (convection).

  7. cut dough in half and roll each half on a floured surface (wooden baking board), thin about 3mm, less then quarter of an inch.

  8. using a star cookie cutter and a round one, cut out cookies.

  9. Original Spitzbuben have 1-3 smaller holes in the middle, but you can use practically any cookie cutter shape.

  10. bake for 10-12 min until pale yellow.

  11. in a bowl warm up jelly, stir until smooth.

  12. spread jelly on the cookies that are round.

  13. Place another shaped cookie on top, press it gently on the other cookie and it will stick;  dust with powdered sugar or use a lemon juice & powder sugar mix.
    Paint on the cookie.

If you cannot get red currant jelly you can use raspberry jam but you need to press it through a sieve to get the seeds out before brushing on the cookies.

Cold beer
Grilled "Hofbrau" Sausages

German Potato Salad 

  •  2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Chives or parsley (optional)


  1. Peel and dice the potatoes, and place them in a pot.  Cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, as this will turn into mashed potatoes when you toss them if you do.  

  2. While the potatoes boil, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/4 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with chives or parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

German Red Cabbage 

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 5 cups shredded red cabbage

  • 1 cup sliced green apples

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 


  1. Place butter, cabbage, apples, and sugar into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and water, and season with salt, pepper, and cloves.

  2. Bring the liquids at the bottom to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the cabbage is tender, about one and a half hours.
    (I used a food processor to shred the cabbage)



Weckmann Recipe


  • 1 Cup Milk

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (optional)

  • Grated peel from 1 lemon (optional)

  • 1/2 oz (One package or 2.1/4 teaspoons) rapid yeast

  • 3 tablespoons warm, not hot, water

  • 4 eggs

  • 6.2/3 cups flour

  • 1 well beaten egg yolk for glazing

  • Raisins and pieces of nut for decoration


  1. Mix yeast with 1 tablespoon sugar and the warm water

  2. In a saucepan heat gently milk, butter and sugar, leave to cool

  3. Add the flour to a large bowl and after making a hole in the center pour in the blended yeast, gently mix together, cover and allow to rise for about 20 minutes

  4. Add milk and butter mixture to flour, mix thoroughly.

  5. If using add vanilla and grated lemon, mix this in with the flour etc., then knead into until well combined and smooth, roll into ball, sprinkle with flour and leave to rise for 45 minutes. 

  6. Flatten out dough, divide into 10 pieces. There are special baking forms, but the majority of "Weckmann bakers" still enjoy shaping the rounded bread man by hand. cut out with a gingerbread cookie cutter

  7. Place the Weckmänner on a greased or baking paper covered baking tray, allowing enough space between each one to allow for spreading and leave to rise for another 20 to 45 minutes.

  8. Brush with beaten egg yolk, and add raisins, (it is a good idea to soak them in water for a few minutes before adding so they don't harden or burn), for the eyes and down the body section for "buttons" use three or four raisins or pieces of nut.

  9. Place in a preheated oven and bake at 325 to 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.

Spekulatius cookies are originally from Belgium and Netherlands, and became popular cookies in the Rhineland and Westphalia.

Spekulatius are classic German Christmas cookies but are also popular throughout the year especially in Belgium and Netherlands.
To make them you would need special molds with the typical Spekulatius design.

Spekulatius contain a special spice mix which consists out of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon.

There are different Spekulatius: Almond, Butter  and Spice Spekulatius.
The ones from Belgium and Netherlands have a typical caramel taste. If you want, get the molds, the spice and try them out, you will love them! If you don't want to buy the molds just use nice cookie cutters or make them as regular round cookies. Both works well! Happy Baking!

Spekulatius cookies

Ingredients Spekulatius

  • 50 g marzipan for baking

  • 200 g soft butter

  • 150 g brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (no sugar)

  • 2 tsp Spekulatius spice OR 
          2 tsp cinnamon,
          1/2 tsp cardamom,
          1/4 tsp ginger ground,
          point of knife: nutmeg, cloves

  • 300 g spelt flour Dinkelmehl (Type 603),

  • 100 g  ground almonds

  • 1 tbsp starch

  • 2 tbsp milk

Spekulatius molds


  1. grate marzipan roughly, mix it in a bowl with butter and sugar, then mix it well until foamy.

  2. add egg, cocoa and spice, mix it.

  3. add flour and ground almonds, knead fast until you get a smooth dough.

  4. wrap it in plastic foul and place it 1 hour in the fridge.

  5. pre-hear oven to 175 C or 350 F; layer a baking tray with parchment paper.

  6. roll dough on a floured baking board 3-4mm. Sieve starch onto the dough and spread it all over.

  7. press the dough into the molds, take them out with a knife and place on baking tray.

  8. brush the Spekulatius with milk and bake for 15 min.

  9. let them cool of on a grid

Guten Appetit!


Gluhwein.....or maybe some
Bisschopswijn aka Bishop's Wine

Make sure to decorate the punch bowl: make a wreath out of rosemary, mint, holly leaves and berries.
"Bisschopswijn, meaning 'bishop's wine,' is the Dutch version of the

German Gluehwein, a hot drink for snowy holidays that makes you glow inside.


  • 1 liter red wine

  • 3–4 Seville oranges (smooth-skinned)

  • 1–2 lemons, sliced

  • 1 quart apple cider

  • ½ cup raisins

  • 1 teaspoon cloves

  • ¼ cup sugar or brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon mace

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Slice and grill orange and lemon slices in a frying pan with butter.

  2. Squeeze, then place in punch bowl. Add cider, sugar, raisins, and spices.

  3. Delicious when served hot with a cinnamon stick in each mug.






Night Before & Day of Traditions:

In Germany, St Nicholas and his partner, Knecht Rubrecht, would visit homes on the evening of the 5th, and ask whether Children were behaving. St Nicholas would be dressed in white robes, and carrying a book

(to double check behavior) and his Bishop’s Mitre (big gold staff). Kids would be tested for their behavior, and asked to recite poems or sing a song. The child would get a gift for doing well. Knecht Ruprect is a more sinister figure, who carried a sack and a switch. Children who were bad could be given a switch, or taken away in the sack. YIKES!

To prepare for the visit, children would tidy their rooms and clean their toys. Shoes would be polished, and set out by the door or on a windowsill. Some kids even left a bit of hay or straw for St Nicholas's donkey. Children wake to find, candies, gold coins, and even small treats on December 6th.

Song to Sing!

Niklaus, komm in unser Haus

Song From Germany

Nicholas, Come into Our House

St. Nicholas Day Song

Nicholas, come into our house, 
And unpack your big bags.
Merry, merry, tra la la la la! 
Today is St. Nicholas' night, 
Today is St. Nicholas' night.

Put your little horse under the table, 
So that it eats hay and oats.
Merry, merry, tra la la la la! 
Today is St. Nicholas' night, 
Today is St. Nicholas' night.

Hay and oats, it will not eat,
Sugar cookies, it will not get.
Merry, merry, tra la la la la! 
Today is St. Nicholas' night, 
Today is St. Nicholas' night.


Naughty or Nice?

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