WHY WAS SAINT NICK SO JOLLY? (ANSWER: WATERMELON)

December 24th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Image courtesy of Simply Organized (and my horrible photo-editing skills)

Image courtesy of Simply Organized (and my horrible photo-editing skills)

When I was young, my parents would teach my brothers and I a new Christmas story as we eagerly awaited ripping and tearing through the presents under the tree. I remember always being fond of the story of Saint Nicholas. His selfless, kind outlook is the foundation of the jolly, bearded man that we know today.

In his heyday, St. Nicholas traveled around the world, spreading the gift of cheer everywhere he went. He was known for his good-hearted nature, as he dedicated his life to helping the poor and downtrodden. My mom used to tell me that the true spirit of Christmas lies not in material goods, but in a good heart.

To this day, I tell my daughter the story of St. Nicholas. I even used the photo above to show why the kids love him (because he brings them watermelon!). When she asked if Santa Claus really brought kids watermelon, I explained that he brings it to kids who have been good all year. She smiled and said, “Yay! I get a watermelon for Christmas!” Like father, like daughter.

I’ve got a busy day ahead of me, filled with cooking, gift wrapping and egg nog sipping, so I’d like to take this time to wish everyone a safe and very Merry Christmas. Hopefully you’ve been good this year, and you’ll find a watermelon or two under the tree tomorrow morning.

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LET’S START A CHRISTMAS TRADITION WITH WATERMELON! (OR NOT)

December 24th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

According to my 4-year-old (and most 4-year-olds), Christmas is the greatest holiday of the year. From the timeless traditions of decorating the tree and picking the treats from our Advent calendar, it’s hard to argue with her logic. It’s a magical time of year that brings people together in the true spirit of Christmas.

Thinking back about the countless traditions that my family upheld, I realize that I never picreally questioned why we did all those things. One of my favorite holiday traditions growing up was leaving milk and cookies for Santa Claus and his reindeer. My parents would call me into the kitchen to pick out a few freshly baked treats from the oven to share with our jolly visitor.

As my 7-year-old self stared at the crumbs left on the plate, I didn’t understand the reason behind my generous offering, probably because I was overwhelmed with excitement that my cookies had been eaten by Santa Claus himself. As it turns out, it’s much more than just a satisfying snack for the jolly bearded man slipping down the chimney.

The tradition actually started in western Germany with what they called “paradise trees.” These trees were apparently decorated with apples, wafers and cookies to symbolize the spirit of giving. Paradise trees came to be known as Christmas trees, which were decorated with treats, lights and colored balls like the holiday staple we know today.

I, for one, am grateful this holiday season for the traditions that have been a part of families across the world for generations. If you don’t partake in any traditions, you could try to start one.

I thought about laying claim to a Christmas tradition involving watermelons. Wrapping watermelons? Roasting watermelons over an open fire? Maybe not, but I’m still working on it. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season, no matter what your traditions may be!

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