Guess who, and it's not the Pope
We finally spent our first Sinterklaas (5 December) in The Netherlands! A big occasion for the Dutch, especially if you're under the age of about six or seven. Every year Sinterklaas sails in his boat from Spain with the help of his Piets to deliver gifts to good boys and girls. I am massively condensing the story of Sint but I think I have the general idea down.
Carmela & Sint
Gabriel, Anke, Carmela & Imke
Gabriel, Lars & Marinus
Special tea time before Sint arrives with the whole crew
This was a big deal for our kids too since we have celebrated the 5th of December in our house, to a much lesser degree, since the kids were little. A boot or shoe is placed by the fireplace the night before with a plate of goodies in hopes that you get a visit from Sint. It is the real deal when Sint and his Piets come knocking on your door and sing songs, review your conduct for the year in front of the whole family and then reward you with gifts as he did this year at Anke and Don's house.
Marius, still in a state of shock
Imke and Marius
Jorrit's cousin Anke and her family hosted us in Wassenaar, near The Hague. Anke and Don have three kids, 13, 10 and 7 or so? So there were plenty of gifts, great poems to accompany the gift giving, our favorite Dutch treats and meals by Don -- very impressive. We celebrated with Tante Imkje (Jorrit's aunt) as well and took a big walk at the beach the day after, which is always fun and has become somewhat of a tradition when we visit, summer or winter. That was our holiday kick-off and it just kept on going after that, Christmas markets, Advent calendars, and finally vacation.
Marius, Nico & Oliver
Jorrit chatting up the Piets