Decoration for Saint Nicholas Day
By Adelma Greinier Simmons
Our symbol for the day is a simple wooden shoe, a sabot brought long ago from Holland. Instead of straw for the Bishop's horse, we place in it an arrangement of broom for Black Peter's switches; mugwort, the herb for foot-sore travelers who trudged behind the Saint; teasel for the cloth merchants whose goods Saint Nicholas protected on long sea voyages, and yellow tansy and yarrow to represent the bags of gold.
From A Merry Christmas Herbal by Adelma Grenier Simmons, William Morrow, 1968, p. 74
A Wreath for St. Nicholas Day
by Adelma Grenier Simmons from A Year in Wreaths
St. Nicholas Day Wreath
Photos: George Gregory Wieser
from A Year in Wreaths
St. Nicholas day is a holiday for those with a sweet tooth. Beautiful cookie molds are used for the famous springerle, or anise cake and baked goods abound. Traditionally, yellow blossoms, such as yarrow or tansy, representing the famous bags of gold that this . . . saint distributed to the poor, were symbolic of the holiday and Dutch children would find gold pieces in their shoes [in the] morning.
A St. Nicholas wreath may be made with evergreens or artemisia as a base. Sweet Annie is an appropriate choice, because its gold color is symbolic of the day. You can find cookie molds in a variety of interesting shapes, which make fine decorations for this wreath. To finish, wire bunches of cinnamon sticks and nutmeg, or other spices commonly used to flavor holiday treats.