06 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

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!

15 comments:

  1. What fun, thanks for sharing, it's great to find out what lots of different people do for Christmas.

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your Christmas traditions with us! I remember hearing about Dark Peet a few years from an online friend who was Dutch.

    I've enjoyed your post. Thanks for participating in the tour!

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  3. Hi!
    Your Dutch tradition sounds awesome! And a pair of wooden clogs. WOW! Thanks for sharing!

    Sherrie

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  4. So instead of getting a lump of coal you get carried away in a sack. I think I like that story a little bit more. It seems a better incentive for good behavior. Thanks for sharing your traditions.

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  5. Wonderful traditions. I love that you wear your Santa hat for the day!

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  6. What a fun tradition! Makes me kind of wish I was half Dutch..

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  7. I actually read a book on the history of Santa Claus and there was a lot of mention of St. Nicholas. It was interesting to hear about it first hand, so to speak! Thanks for joining in!

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  8. I wouldn't mind if I was dutch. sounds like fun. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. We were in Prague a couple of years ago on St. Nicholas' Eve. Your post brought that back. Thanks

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  10. Great post! My family celebrates St. Nicholas day too; we weren't able to get together yesterday, so we're having our big party today.

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  11. Great post. Thanks for sharing. One of my friends is married to a Dutch guy, and she goes to Amsterdam each year for Christmas this time. Then they come back to Denmark after a week and then celebrate "the other" Christmas here as well on the 24th.

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  12. Should I say Merry Early Dutch Christmas? ;) I love to hear your tradition and the fact that you wear a hat for the day early. I also love the wooden shoes ideas, it must be fun!

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  13. Sorry I'm a little late on visiting. Thanks for sharing your traditions and celebrations!

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  14. thank you for sharing how your family celebrates Dutch Christmas! I remember reading about different European traditions of St Nicholas, so it's exciting to meet someone who still celebrates some of the original traditions. I too, love that you wear your hat for Dutch Christmas too. Happy holidays for both days!

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