Today marks stop #6 on the Holiday Advent Tour, and I'm happy that I get to be a part of sharing in it. So, Merry Christmas!
Now, you may be wondering why I say that with such gusto.... Well, today is the first of two Christmas Days that I celebrate! That's right, I celebrate Dutch Christmas AND the regular American Christmas on Dec. 25th.
Being 1/2 Dutch from my Dad's side of the family, the traditions of Sinterclaas carried on through my grandfathers and my father and became a part of my family; I look forward to passing it on to my children someday!
On December 5th, the date of Saint Nickolas' death, each of the six people in my family lays out their wooden shoes (yes, I own a pair of wooden clogs) under the Christmas tree and goes to bed so that Sinterclaas (Santa Claus) will come, with his elves, called Zwarte Pieten (Dark Helpers). Riding across rooftops on his white horse dressed in a bright red bishop's robe, complete with a staff and mitre, Sinterclaas looks very much like what you'd expect the Catholic Saint Nickolas to look like. Sinterclaas keeps a list of all the children who've been good (they get candies and small toys which fit in the wooden shoes) and bad (they get carted off to uncharted lands in a big sack).
But enough history! My family sticks our wooden shoes under the tree, goes to bed, and *magically!* the next morning, they are filled with little toys, gift cards, and peppermints! That day, I ALWAYS wear a big Santa hat to pay tribute to the holiday, and I absolutely love it when a hundred people stop me at school or work to ask me why I'm celebrating Christmas so early!
So, if you ever see a guy wearing a Santa hat on Dec. 6th, saying 'Merry Christmas' to everyone and getting lots of quizzical stares, just know that he might be Dutch and is celebrating Christmas!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!