01 December 2011

Sinterklaas and Christmas



Since I live in Holland and have to kids myself, Christmas has change a little bit for me. I grew up in Denmark with all the traditions around Christmas, which all started around 1 December. On the 1st of December you have to have your home decorated for Christmas and then the Christmas calendar starts. One surprise every day, and that could be from a Christmas calendar or a little present. On TV you also have a Christmas calendar with one episode every day till the 24 of December.
But here in Holland they are not all so pleased with Christmas and has a Sinterklaas as well next to the Santa Claus.

Sinterklaas lives in Spain and comes to Holland every year in November with all his Piet’s to bring presents to all the Dutch children. The 5th of December is then THE Sinterklaas evening where everybody (not everybody, but a lot) celebrate the birthday from Sinterklaas.
But that means that we first have the Sinterklaas fuss (and believe me, here in Holland it is really a BIG fuss. It’s a bigger hype than the Santa Claus elsewhere) and then right after Sinterklaas, the 6 of December, we finally may start on the Christmas fuss.
Many families choose to participate in only one of these, but... I just can’t because Sinterklaas is here for the children such a big thing. (they even have a Sinterklaas journal every day on the television) And when we go to Denmark for Christmas (almost every year) it’s the Santa Claus which is a big thing. So for the family there we need to keep those traditions as well. Do you see my problem??
Every year the children have 2 very exiting months with a lot of candy, presents and energy beyond normal, and I have to accept it and live with it. And I do! I love the fuss around the Sinterklaas as well, but my heart is still with Christmas. It’s just something so special and so cozy for everybody (not only the children) and I just have to accept that the Christmas hype starts a little bit later here than for instance in Denmark.
I here show you some pictures taken a week ago when Sinterklaas was in our neighborhood. My girls are the two in pink with the big black wig on. That’s the way the ‘Pieten’ are dressed. The ’Pieten’ helps Sinterklaas with all the presents and are often very clumsy and funny and most of them are not very bright either.



So... in about 6 day’s I am also allowed to decorate my home for Christmas, right after our Sinterklaas has left. But the girls and I have already started a little bit of Christmas here at home.

They must (of course) have a Christmas calendar. One with chocolate. And you have to open the first one on the 1st of December. So last night they got their calendar and today they could open the first one like every other Danish boy and girl. But.. the rest will have to wait a few days. 


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