Spotted! Santa DOES exist...AND he enjoys wine and bread. While walking around the lovely Budapest Christmas Market at Vorosmarty Ter (pardon the lack of accents, as I cannot type them on my computer) I saw the big man himself. I spotted him taking a load off at one of the food stands. Who knew Santa enjoyed a nice forralt bor (hot wine) and slice of bread? Maybe I'll take note of that and change it up from leaving out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve.
I'm reviewing "winter clothing" and Christmas with my 2nd graders this week and yesterday I was going through flash cards with them. One of my classes was pretty stumped when I held up the card for "gloves". Suddenly little Adam's hand popped up and he exclaimed "hand boxes!" Hmmm...I'm thinking that Adam is pretty smart. Gloves...what kind of word is that, anyways? I might start saying that it's time to get out the hand boxes when it gets chilly.
Let me preface this story by explaining my previous understanding of what Mikulás (St. Nicholas) day is here in Hungary: on the evening of December 5th, little children in Hungary put their best shoes out on their windowsill. During the night, Mikulás comes and visits. When they wake up the next morning, the children find their shoes filled with candy and small presents. I had guessed that the tradition of "Santa" coming early was due to the Catholic influence and traditions here in Hungary. Boy, was I wrong! Today I was having a little chat with little Jamie (pictured here) who is a 1st grader of mine, and is half-British...so he speaks fluent English. Along with being my little helper in translating, he is my source of real conversation and information...usually on the subject of puppies, Pokemon cards, and his colored pencils. Today however, he told me the real story of Mikulás here in Hungary:
Me: So Jamie, are you excited about a visit from Mikulás on Saturday?
Jamie: Oh yes, very much. Do you know why Santa visits us early here in Hungary?
Me (very curious): No I sure don't, please tell me!
Jamie: Well, you see...Santa is quite a large man. It's not easy for him to get around with all that extra weight. He also has lots of elves and Mrs. Claus to take care of. He's a busy man.
Me: Yes, he's got a tough job!
Jamie: He does, which is why it's very hard for him to visit the WHOLE world and give presents to EVERYONE in one night. So Hungary (apparently as a country?) called Santa one day and asked him if he could come to us earlier...you know, to make it easier on him. That way, he can hang out with Mrs. Claus, the elves, and get everything done before Christmas Eve when he visits the rest of the world.
Me: Oh, I see (trying my hardest to contain my laughter). That makes so much sense. What a smart thing for Hungary to do.
DUH! I apologize to all of Hungary for my previous misunderstanding as to why Santa comes early :-) And thank you to Jamie for correcting me!