Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 15 of 21 › view all entries
December 9th, 2008 – by: kat_mac27
This year was my very first Sinterklaas on the 5th December. It was a great introduction to Dutch culture and some of the traits that make the Dutch so likeable. Sinterklaas is HUGE in the Netherlands. There are all sorts of wonderful traditions such as Speculaas (gingerbread-type biscusits) and marzipan creations in the shape of Saint Nic and his helper and even carrots for his horse.
Maarten and his family celebrate at his sister's house in Schiedam, near Rotterdam. We all bought presents for the two young children in the family and 'Sinterklaas' rang the doorbell and left his sack on the stoop! It was so cute seeing their faces light up as they handed out and unwrapped their presents.
For the adults we did a 'secret santa', everybody chose one person to anonymously buy a gift and write a poem for.
One of the things I really love about the Dutch is their love of games. Sinterklaas fun doesn't stop with opning gifts! Once the two smaller ones were in bed we played a chance game to distribute all of the "under 5E" presents we had bought. Whn we all had a small (or large as was the case with some) pile we began our game! The idea is swapping the presents based on cards with instructions. Each one said something like take the biggest/dumbest/most colourful present or take them from you neighbours etc. It was so much fun and we ended up with soem very random gifts. I have never had a Christmas that was so much fun without getting that many great gifts! Though I did end up with a chocolate letter "Q", some tea candles and boot polish. I also got one of those great tea-bag holders (from Xenos no less) which I actually think is pretty!
Unfortunately I didn't get many photos since I was having too much fun :P so there are also some more wintery shots of Amsterdam and who knows what else!
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