In my childhood, on the night of December 5, we shined our shoes and put them on the window sill before we went to bed. This morning we rushed to the window to see what Mikulás had brought us. Here read St. Nicholas. December 6 was the opening day of the Christmas Season for children. The gifts were fruit, candy, and such—lots of wrinkled up red wrapping paper for atmosphere—and for each child a switch (see image) our parents could use to punish us if we were bad. Those must have been sold at the market, I think—and then saved for next year when we weren’t paying attention. My last such Szent Mikulás celebration was problematic. On December 5 of 1944 we found ourselves aboard a train. The carriage had been equipped with beds and such; it had windows but they didn’t open and had no sill. What to do? My Mother told us that Szent Mikulás would “understand.” Therefore we placed our shoes next to our beds… Well, train or no train—we were bound out of Hungary and on the very first stage of our long voyage into the greater world—we discovered that Mikulás had found a way. And in the morning, to our delight….
That name, in Hungarian, is pronounced Sent Me-cool-lahsh. Image courtesy of Wikipedia (link).