Monday, December 5, 2011

SwellChel Does Christmas: Happy Sinterklaas Day!

Happy Sinterklaas Day!

Before I was born my parents and four older sisters lived in the Netherlands.
(here they are in traditional Dutch costumes)

My family continues to celebrate the Dutch Christmas (Sinterklaas Day) every year.
Growing up I thought it was special because we got presents on December 5th and everyone else had to wait until Christmas!  Later on I realized that my parents were not only giving us a wonderful and cultural family tradition but they were making Sinterklaas Day more of a secular event during the holiday season ... leaving Christmas to be more of a spiritual one.  This is something I've strived to continue in our home.  Just like my mother I try to be done with the Christmas shopping and deliveries to friends & neighbors by December 5th.  It definitely takes the stress out of the holidays for a busy young family!  The rest of the month we focus on the Savior's birth and on service.  We still get visited by Santa Claus on December 25th but we try to downplay it :)

I thought it would be fun to share on the blog what Sinterklaas Day is all about!

In Holland, on December 5th, Sinterklaas (aka: Saint Nicholas) comes sailing into the harbor of many Dutch cities.  He brings his white horse and his companion "Black Pete."  There is a parade and the children shout as the procession winds around the streets.  The children get ready for this visit by putting their wooden shoes outside their door.  The shoes are filled with carrots and hay for Sinterklaas' horse.  The next morning the children find surprises Saint Nicholas has left for them (usually chocolate coins or initials, oranges, Dutch cookies and presents).  Children are told that Black Pete keep a record of all the things they have done in the past year in a book - the good children receive presents and the bad children are left with sticks in their clogs!

Here are some fun and easy Dutch crafts that we like to make.  You can click on each picture and download them for personal use if you are interested.  We use brads (paper fasteners) for each of these crafts) and the kids have fun coloring them and cutting them out ... I'm bringing them to my son's kindergarten class today!  Enjoy!

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Monica McCoy said...

I love seeing this picture. I remember you talking about this all the time and it is fun to see the action in real life.

Michelle {Fun On A Dime} said...

You know I've heard of Sinterklaas but never knew the details. I love the idea of being done with everything by the 5th. What a great way to really enjoy Christmas!

P.S. I'd love for you to share this tradition in the December Family Challenge "Bringing Christ into Christmas" on my site.

Brittany said...

Thanks for sharing your idea Chels! I love Sinterclaus Day and I especially love getting things done early so you can consetrate on the real meaning of Christmas! Great idea!