Most people are familiar with Christmas on December 25th. We celebrate it all over the world. But, did you know there is also a Sinterklaas day that is also celebrated in December? I didn’t either until I married into a dutch family.

Sinterklaas, also known as Saint Nicholas, has a long white beard, wears a long red cape and a red mitre (mijter). He rides on his white horse Amerigo. He and his helper Piet (Pete) deliver gifts together to all of the kids. Kids place their shoes outside the door or on the fireplace mantel with a carrot stick (for the horse!). In exchange, their shoes are filled with treats and small gifts.

The tradition is based on the historical figure of Saint Nicholas (270–343), a Greek bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. It’s much simpler for you to look up the info than it is for me to try to relay it. There are several sites that give the background and traditions of Sinterklaas.

Making Our Own Traditions

In our family we like to put our shoes (yes, wooden shoes from the Netherlands!) outside the front door on Dec 4th. When we wake up the next morning we find our shoes filled with goodies. Though we celebrate it on a much smaller scale our kids always enjoy taking part in a tradition that their dad grew up with.

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