When we were children, it was tonight that the Christmas season really began. Tonight was the beginning of twenty days during which we just could not behave (we were generally pretty good kids). Before bedtime on December 5th, we would write notes to St. Nicholas detailing what gifts we would like for Christmas. We would each place a shoe by the front door. Our note and a handful of oats were in each shoe because on the eve of his feast day, St. Nick would ride his white horse around the world and collect letters from children. The oats were a snack for the horse. When we got up in the morning, oats were scattered out the door into the front yard, the letters were gone and we each received a small bag of nonpariels and other chocolates.
That meant the Christmas season had started. It would end on Christmas Eve when we went to bed early, were awakened a few hours later to open gifts. Christmas Day was a religious holiday, so we took care of business on Christmas Eve.
I definitely have the urge to leave a shoe, a note, and some oats by the front door tonight. However, since I am dieting, the nonpariels would be a bad (though not unwelcome) thing. Besides, I would then be required to be good for twenty days — that may not be possible.