Tag Archives: The Netherlands

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Sinterklaas Party, Our Family Tradition

Several years ago, my oldest son served a mission for our church to the Netherlands.  So I asked him about some of the Christmas traditions while he was there and every year since we have celebrated Sinterklaas day in some way or another.

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Happy Sinterklaas Day!


We have a fun tradition that we have celebrated in our family for the past several years.  Our oldest son served a mission for our church in the Netherlands and Sinterklaas Eve is a big celebration!  It is basically the welcoming of Santa and the start of the Christmas season.  In the Netherlands, Sinterklaas arrives on a boat and then rides a horse down through the town.

According to wikipedia, He is celebrated annually on Saint Nicholas’ eve (5 December) or on the morning of 6 December in Belgium and Northern France.

In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas’ Eve, 5 December, became the chief occasion for gift-giving during the Christmas season. The evening is called Sinterklaasavond or Pakjesavond (boxing evening). For Belgian and some Dutch children, it is customary to put one shoe in front of the fireplace from the day Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands, usually in the third week of November, sing Sinterklaas songs and go to bed. A carrot and/or hay may put in the shoe as a treat for Sinterklaas’ horse. The next morning the carrot would be gone and the children may find candy or a small present in their shoes.

We sometimes celebrate with Dutch foods and treats and sometimes it is really quite American!  This year was very American!  We played games like Reindeer Bowling…
and Pin the Nose on Rudolf…

All the kids got their traditional Christmas jammies and a book from Grandma and Grandpa, so that they can use them all month long!  And then as we 
were all just sitting and visiting, guess who to my wondering eyes should appear?  yep, it was Santa Claus, or as they say in the Netherlands, Sinterklaas!

Some welcomed Santa a lot better than others, but they all had a turn sitting on his lap and talking to him and they received a bag of treats from him.  Santa was so nice to take the time to come and see us on his busy schedule,  we sang him a song as he walked out the door and then the kids had to listen to see if they could hear the sleigh bells ringing!

We love the tradition of Sinterklaas Eve in our home, do any of you have any international traditions that you like to celebrate at this time of year.  Whatever they are, I hope that they are filled with love and with your loved ones!

Happy Sinterklaas Day from our house to yours!