Stein Collectors International
Featured Stein ~ December 2019

Christmas Season Miniature Steins

by Steve Steigerwald

click on the image to enlarge

I have always been somewhat surprised that the celebration of Christmas was not a popular subject on antique steins. Over the years I have tried to add as many different Christmas related miniatures to my collection as the budget, and common sense, allows.

The two unlidded steins shown above depict St. Nikolaus with a satchel of gifts slung over his shoulder giving gifts of fruit, nuts and a small toy to a young girl. The stein with the blue background is slightly larger than the stein with the green background. Neither has a lid, a capacity mark or any markings on the base.

The legend of Santa Claus has its origins in a monk from an area that is now part of modern Turkey. Around 280 A.D. a monk named St. Nikolaus gave away all of his wealth and travelled the countryside helping the sick and poor. One of the most popular tales about St. Nikolaus is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by supplying their dowries. The legend is that for each, he snuck into their home leaving a dowry of gold at night, without telling them it was his doing.

St. Nikolaus died on December 6, the day that is celebrated as St. Nikolaus Day in Germany. Traditionally, St. Nikolaus visits the houses of children dressed in a red coat and hat and wearing a white beard. He brings small gifts to all the children who have been good all year and reprimands the naughty ones. In case he does not enter the house, the children leave their shoes, stockings or a plate outside so that St. Nikolaus can leave fruits, nuts or sweets for them.

More examples of Christmas Season Miniatures appear in a longer article in the Library of this site.

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