Friday, December 4, 2009


In many places St. Nicholas is the main gift giver. His feast day, St. Nicholas Day, is December 6, which falls early in the Advent season. Some places he arrives in the middle of November and moves about the countryside, visiting schools and homes to find out if children have been good. Other places he comes in the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with children's wish lists. Small treats are left in shoes or stockings so the children will know he has come.
Where St. Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary gift giving day. Parties may be held on the eve, December 5th, and shoes or stockings left for St. Nicholas to fill during the night. Children will find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

St. Nicholas, called Sw. Mikolaj, is a saintly, dignified figure in Poland; he comes as a bishop, carrying a crozier. Descending from Heaven with an angel helper, he travels on foot or in a sleigh pulled by a white horse as he visits homes in the countryside. When he appears, the eager children cry, "He has come! He has come!" St. Nicholas' presence fills the room with his smile, the twinkle in his eye, and his welcoming, booming voice. Children recite their catechism and prayers.
St. Nicholas rebukes or praises, as appropriate, before distributing holy pictures, red apples or oranges, and pierniki (saint cookies made with honey and spices). If he doesn't come in person, treats are put under sleeping children's pillows or left in freshly cleaned and polished shoes left out for the saint. St. Nicholas acts in his traditional religious role as a protector and patron saint while encouraging Polish children to be well-behaved, as there are switches for naughty children.
On Christmas children eagerly await the end of Wigilia (Christmas) dinner, for then they will unwrap their presents and discover if they have received what they requested in letters to St. Nicholas. Sometimes the good saint appears again, asking questions to determine how the children have behaved. Then he distributes the gifts and quietly disappears to visit other excited children.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

BOP IT calls out commands and you react fast. Includes Bop It game unit and instructions.Get ready to react fast. Turn on the BOP IT game unit and get ready to Bop, Pull, and Twist your way to victory. For even more of a challenge, activate the microphone and Shout It, too. Choose to play alone or invite your friends for a game of Party Bop—you’ll all have to use your knees, elbows, and hips to win.The better you get, the more skill levels you unlock, so think fast and be the BOP IT master.
I threw this item in the cart to entertain my kids while I shopped and had to get it because they wouldn't stop playing with it! They were having so much fun, and so was I. I told them we were getting it as a gift for their cousin, but am going to surprise them with it for Christmas.