Cultural note: St. Nicolas is a traditional celebration in several European countries, among them Belgium and France. On December 6th, children traditionally receive gifts, candies, and tangerines.
Let me tell you a little secret: St. Nicolas impresses me. Every year he comes to my school. There is a big party; our teacher has us sing a song for the occasion. We all gather on the playground, and St. Nicolas comes to give us sweets. My friends are really excited. I'm happy too of course! But I'm still a bit afraid to meet him. He throws sweets towards us, we gather as many of them as possible and put them in our pockets. Then we go back to our classroom until the moment to take a picture with St. Nicolas. Our teacher asks us to line up to go and see him in the assembly room. He is waiting for us in his beautiful armchair, with gifts all around him. We line up and then he calls us up one by one. I am both impatient and nervous. I remember one time when I was little, I was so impressed that I started crying.
This year everything went well. I even dared to sit on his lap for the picture. He said, "Ptit Bunny, have you been good?" I said yes, hoping that he didn't know about the time I hid my little brother's Lego set because he had bothered me. And then he asked me what I had put on my list. I said books, a jigsaw puzzle and a Lego set. He smiled, gave me a bag with tangerines and cookies, we took the picture, and I said, "Thank you St. Nicolas”. I was pretty proud of myself. I felt that my smile took all the space on my face. And in my head I was singing the St. Nicolas song. I even had the impression that I was bouncing. After all, it's not every day that you meet St. Nicolas in person! I can't wait for my teacher to give us the pictures, so I can show mine to my whole family!
Illustration and video: Stéphanie Blanchart