Advent Calendar: December 6th

Photo by Bernhard Albrecht

December 6th and with that, our sixth tree in the series. This one was taken by Bernhard Albrecht in Dresden, where the Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the world-famous Dresdner Striezelmarkt. The 2020 market was called off this year due to the Corona Epidemic, yet the tree alone, together with a few accessories, still makes for a beautiful setting, especially when there are people wandering about, also when social-distancing.

I had an opportunity to visit the Dresden Christmas Market in 2011 and you can view my write-up series by clicking here. It features this, plus the one near the Frauenkirche and in Neustadt. A real treat.

It is also St. Nicholas day and with that, a couple of surprises for you. One of which you can find in a musical piece by clicking here. The other a poem written by a famous young writer: here.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Photo by cottonbro on

This Christmas Music Genre looks at the Role of Santa Claus, or should we say Father Christmas or going by the original name of St. Nicholas. “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” is a Christmas song that originated with a poem by Emily Huntington Miller (1833-1913), published as “Lilly’s Secret” in The Little Corporal Magazine in December 1865. The song’s lyrics have also been attributed to Benjamin Hanby, who wrote a similar song in the 1860s, Up on the Housetop. However, the lyrics now in common use closely resemble Miller’s 1865 poem.

Many variations have been produce for this song, some adding the Up on the Housetop version. I remember singing both of them as a quartett piece during my days in high school a quarter of a century ago, which resembled something like in this piece:

Other versions of that form have since been released, including a swing version:

Jolly Old St. Nick can also be a stand-alone version, with several musical variants having been produced. One of the most popular came from the pop music/jazz group Chicago sans Peter Cetera. Released in 2003, the original music format of the band is the same, but Keith Howland did the lead vocals:

The oldest variant with strings was sung by famous French singer Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972). It is unknown when it was released but it was first broadcasted after World War II and has since been a classic favorite.

And that wraps up this edition of the Christmas surprise and the history of Jolly Old St. Nick. A classic great for a special day celebrated here in Germany, honoring St. Nick. Enjoy the holiday season and be safe out there. 🙂 ❤


Happy Holidays!

St. Nicholas by Anne Frank

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

There are not many poems or stories that have been written about the tradition of St. Nicholas Day, a day that is celebrated on December 6th in Germany, but has been integrated into American and British Christmas traditions as they are celebrated on Christmas Eve and Day. Even the world famous poem “T’was the Night Before Christmas,” written by Clement C. Moore, is in reference to Santa Claus in the US and Father Christmas in the UK.

Yet there is one poem that has been somewhat in the backburner but one that has been considered one of the greats. It’s a poem written by Anne Frank (1929- 1945), the writer who was in hiding together with her family during much of World War II. This excerpt came from her diary, which was published posthumously after the war ended and has been considered one of the most popular books to read.

“Once again St. Nicholas Day
Has even come to our hideaway;
It won’t be quite as fun, I fear,
As the happy day we had last year.
Then we were hopeful, no reason to doubt
That optimism would win the bout,
And by the time this year came round,
We’d all be free, and safe and sound.
Still, let’s not forget it’s St. Nicholas Day,
Though we’ve nothing left to give away.
We’ll have to find something else to do:
So everyone please look in their shoe!”

More on the excerpt and about the Diary of a Young Girl can be found here. It is also the same website which features nine different poems about St. Nicholas but from different regions in Germany.



Happy Holidays!