05 December 2009

From the Netherlands, with love; Sinterklaas

Come everybody, come sit by the fireplace, take a cup of hot cocoa or tea and a slice of almond pastry (which is a typical thing to eat on Sinterklaas night). The icy wind howls around us but we have it warm in front of the fire and I wanted to start my very first; From the Netherlands, with love.

Sinterklaas is a Dutch holiday which I enjoyed with my family in to my early teens, then, after a family powwow we decided to switch to Santa Claus at Christmas. Still I have many fond memories of Sinterklaas as a child. I guess, looking back, by this time of the year I would be driving my mother crazy running on a sugar rush of mega proportion. One of the typical things is “strooigoed” this is the candy that Black Peter would throw in the air or hand out to the kids as they cheered for St. Nicholas. Mattel ruled my world in those days and folders of toyshops were read to pieces for THE ultimate wishlist. It all started with the welcoming parade of St. Nicholas and Black Peter somewhere in the middle of November. Then two weeks before December 5th I would put my shoe in front of the central heating with my wishlist, a carrot for his horse and a glass of milk for St. Nicholas. Small presents would be found in my shoe the next morning and this process was repeated at local stores, at various clubs I was a member of and at school. Hence the sugar rush because next to a small present candy was always found too LOL

The tension was building and I got more antsy by the day…and not only I, but also a younger brother and sister, such good times for our parents ;) I was anxiously awaiting the BIG day wondering if I would receive the oh so desired presents. All kids knew that St. Nicholas looked up in his big book if they had been nice, if I had been a “good girl”. There were years I seriously doubted my inner goodness. I recall a year where my sister was having a grand adventure with a friend in a rubber boat on a pond near our village. She wanted her fabulous, shiny, pristine, day old leather shoes and what did I do in an impulse? I picked them up and threw them at her, totally convinced they had speed enough for sis to catch them. Well, that didn’t quite turn out the way I thought it would as a loud splash was heard. Sis cried her eyeballs out and I look a little dumbfound as those day old shiny shoes sank to the bottom of the pond. The result; One very upset sister and one very angry mother.

Yeah, there were definitely moments throughout the year that made me doubt in December if I would get any presents. So my heart pounded in my throat as someone knocked on the door, saw candy thrown in and dad come back with a bag full of gifts.

Shall I show you some of my most treasured St. Nicholas gifts:

I was at a tender age of 7 and it was 1983, we had winters full of snow and skating pleasure and I got myself a Carebear. I loved the cartoon and had to have me a magical bear like that.

I was 8, being a big girl now and it was 1984. BBC and their weekend morning program gave parents a few hours of rest while we watched cartoons. Jem was sis and my favorite, we so wanted the Jem doll but we got Kimber instead. You all remember that cartoon too?

1985, I was 9 and loved watching mommy making herself pretty, she said I had that since I was in diapers, okay mom, thanks for that info ;) I had to practice of course and instead of using younger sis or brother I got me a make-up doll face for St. Nicholas that year. Very smart thinking on mom’s side!

One of the last St.Nicholas’ we had I was totally in to MTV and 13 years, it was 1989 and Rick Astley, Madonna, Michael Jackson etc rocked my world and I had to have myself an uber kewl walkman. You all remember that? One that played, oh yes, cassettes. On many a Friday afternoon I sat at my brand new stereo with a cassette in the cassette-deck listening to the radio show; top 40 and my finger on the rec. button, ready to record my most favorite songs. These days they would call that illegal downloading LOL

Did you know: It were the Dutch settlers who brought St. Nicholas over to New Amsterdam - USA.

Did you know: It so happens that the legend of St. Nicholas is based on historical fact. He did actually exist. He lived from 271 A.D. to December 6th, 342 or 343. His 4th century tomb in the town of Myra, near the city of Anatolia in present-day Turkey, has even been dug up by archaeologists

Did you know: Amsterdam adopted St. Nicholas as its patron saint, and Rome decreed that December 6th, the anniversary of his death, should be his official Feast Day.

Do you really want to dig in some Sinterklaas history? Click here


*Candy gets thrown in*

I walk up to the half open door of my realm and find a sack:

“Okay ladies, apparently St.Nicholas dropped by with Black Peter and left a sack behind. I thought with us wicked, naughty gals that was never going to happen!”

*Opens bag and digs in*

*Takes out three shiny signed copies of Anna Campbell’s CAPTIVE OF SIN*

Leave a comment and contact information for those who want to have a copy send to them. I’ll pick three winners on December 12th! I hope you all enjoy your cocoa and the first; From the Netherlands, with love.

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  1. I sooooooo love this holiday! I am all ready for tonight, the kids are counting down the hours!

  2. I am happy to say I have one so no need for Sinterklaas to give me one :)

    Great post Leontine

  3. Really awesome post... I loved you childhood memories =))))

    I hope you enjoy Sinterklaas this year and I wish you all the best =)))

    I want the book LOL

    contact @ larissa@larissaslife.com


    btw... you gotta read the rest of Merry's books... it just gets better hehe =))))

  4. @Marissa - Have fun tonight with the kids...they must be psyched!

    @Blodeuedd - it's noted! Glad you dropped by ;)

    @Larissa -Your name is put in the sack girl and yeah Merry Gentry, you made me want more then I can handle at the moment. Perhaps I should do a week of catching up on old series. That way I will make time for such novels!

    @everyone - I'm going to my nanna in a bit to celebrate St.Nicholas...feel free to take some hot chocolate mild and pastries while I am gone. I'll be checking in later tonight and have to draw me a blogoversary winner ;)

  5. Hey Leontine,
    What a great holiday...I wasn't too familiar with it until you explained all about it. I loved reading about your childhood memories.

    Happy Reading
    Anna Shah Hoque

  6. I love it when you reminisce about your childhood! This is a great tradition. If you celebrate Sinterklaas, do you still put up a Christmas tree? Or is it either Sinterklass or Santa? How much of it overlaps?

  7. I'm definitely in for the Anna Campbell book and you know my contact info LOL!

    So now that that's out of the way...Sinterklaas.
    Though I was born here, those who know me personally know my roots aren't Dutch, so at home we didn't have this tradition save for when we "believed" in the good man and were allowed to put our shoe by the door like all the other kids. Once my brother and I grew out of the "believing" phase we stopped celebrating it and continued the Christmas tradition that was known in my parents' country.

    Now, my hubby is Dutch and his family has an extensive Sinterklaas tradition and we celebrate with them every year in one form or another, with the exception of this year because of some circumstances.

    Ooh and I totally recognize the JEM doll, I wanted one too when I was little but all I got was knock-off Barbies (not even the REAL thing, *pout*), which I proceded to dissect and dismember out of spite....hmm I am a very nice, peaceful woman, I promise, but do not cross me when I want something LOL

    Have a Happy Sinterklaas for those who celebrate!

  8. I can't wait for tomorrow cuz than it's Nikolaus here. Love this holiday to and a little treat is always welcome. Unfortunately a naked male maid doesn't fit in my shoes. Damn! Enjoy your weekend hon!

  9. my mom is dutch(she came to Canada when she was 9) but we never celebrated this holiday.She always told us stories of it though.So thanks for sharing your childhood memories of it.
    Never heard of Jem but the other gifts bring back some memories of my own :)

    I'd love to get my first Sinterklaas gift.Now I have been naughty(Tristan,Sam and Aidan hush..lol) but I've also been good ;)

    Have a great day!!

  10. O Leontine, those were the days! ;)
    I hope you have a nice time with your family today, hon!
    And I love this From the Netherlands series. I'm getting all warm and proud of being Dutch when you talk about our traditions this way!

  11. @s7Anna - I really like to give you all a bit of Dutch amidst all the book/review/hussy and beefcake talk ;)

    @Patti - Yeah, we still celebrated christmas too only there were never presents, just christmas breakfast and dinner. I think St.Nic and Santa have much overlap in traditions (instead of shoe, you put up stockings etc) so when we got in our teenage years we switched from St.Nicholas to Santa Claus with presents. It was either/or not both.

    @Pearl - Oh that is interesting, you need to tell me sometimes what your parents x-mas traditions are/were then. Of course I will drop your name in the hat.

    @SusiSunshine - crap girl, why ruin my hope for my own malemaid *hangs head* Oh well I still have my hoped for an e-reader LOL

    @Elaing8 - Yeah, you & Cecile personally corrupted Sam, Tristan and Aidan a bit more than they already were (though the are adamant they already were that way LOL) I'll toss your name in the hat!

    @Janna - I had an absolute fabulous time, it's loud, it's full of LOL moments, we disagree and we share memories and nanna is there to oversee it all and always has her opinion ready too. Love the daylights outta that woman ;D

  12. Sinterklass looks like it was a lot fun. And again I have to say you have the most amazing memory!! I couldn't tell you what I got for Christmas most years as a kid. :)

    Don't count me for the contest. I already have a copy. Courtesy of you, sweetie! :)

  13. No need to enter me in the contest for the book, but I had to say that we must have grown up at the same time! I remember getting all those toys growing up! Ahhh, Jem cartoons and dolls. I remember begging for all of them! That and Barbie and the Rockers!

  14. Leontine,

    I mentioned the beautiful award you gave me on my blog!

    I loved the post today!

    Thank you!

  15. It's so neat to read about a different kind of Christmas celebration and funny how similar some things are. I was running on sugar mostly as a kid too but that was because my mom and grandma spent a week or so before Christmas baking all kinds of sweets.

  16. I was introduced to Sinterklaas 10 years ago when our new neighbor move next door to us we go every year to the dutch market to meet them and take home baked goods.

  17. What a wonderful journey down memory lane and Sinterklaas sounds like just the ticket for my sweet tooth...

    I can see you are a holiday person...

    Please don't enter me for the books...

  18. I love everything you mentioned about the 80's. They were my favorites as well! So many good memories of Christmas. Please enter me into the contest.

  19. @Donna - I have a weird memory that works that way I guess LOL Next to my birthday, Sinterklaas was one of those holidays that my parents really took the opertunity to spoil us. The rest of the year we got our allowence and that would be it ;)

    @Amy J - Oh Barbie, I remember one birthday where i got me so much money I could buy Barbie, Ken and two babies - boy/girl of course. I was over the moon with and played with them for hours.

    @HAWK - YAY, I'll stop by and see who you have given the kick-ass stamp of aproval!

    @Ladytink_534 - Yeah there are some treats her too that mother baked with us on aour free wednesday's. When I started to work in a children's daycare center and had 24 kids with collegue to take care of I thought about my parents when I exerienced my first St. Nicholas with the group. A sugar buzzing hiricane was nothing LOL

    @Alba - Yeah the typical pastries and candy is something you can't get abroad I think. I send a package to my sister when she lived in Ireland.

    @Erotic horizon - Yeah, I love the holidays, the buzz, the vibe and yet I never have the urge to go all out on the decorating part...that is usually a job that hubby likes to do ;)

  20. @Belinda - I love the 80's too, once upon a time you had a program that highlighted the 70's -80's and 90's I believe, I watched every episode of the 80's, loving the recognition of it all. I dropped your name in the hat!

  21. Do you still have the Gem dolls? I am beyond jealous! I would have maimed for that when I was a munchkin, but I think I was watching repeats. And no dolls were to be found. :(

  22. Leontine, you have one crazy memory! I can't even remember my favorite gifts or what I even wished for.

    My mom always gives me crap because I have a terrible memory of my childhood. My response is that my childhood was just so blissful that there wasn't a reason to remember anything specific. She likes this answer. :)

    Happy Holidays, VFG

  23. @girrlit - No I haven't got the dolls anymore, I played with them and when I moved in with my hubby it got lost somehow :S

    @VFG - I know it is weird, can't help it either ;) And I like your answer too, it made me snort in my coca cola LOL

  24. I love going down memory lane with you! I used to watch Jem. Don't remember Kimber though...

    Happy Holidays :D

  25. i did that too!... the sitting next to the radio and hitting record whenever my favorite song came on the radio. i still have the tapes too! LOL! those were the days, huh?

    Please enter me for the contest. I've been going around trying to win CoS for the longest time.

    bookmakeupreview @ gmail . com


I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.