Sinterklaas present night

Yesterday was 5 of December and then it’s the day of Sinterklaas present night here in Holland. That means that a lot of small children are very excited to see how many presents Sinterklaas and his Pieten brings them this year and what he brings.

Who is Sinterklaas?

Sinterklaas (also called Sint Nicolaas) is the main character of the children’s party that is celebrated in the Netherlands, Belgium and in some other countries. The highlight of the Sinterklaas party is Pakjesavond (present night), which is celebrated in the Netherlands on December 5 and in Belgium on December 6 in the morning. Sinterklaas always has his loyal servant, Zwarte Piet, and rides a horse named Amerigo in the Netherlands and Bad Weather Today in Belgium. In 2019, Saint Nicholas took the horse Ozosnel from Spain.

Nicholas was bishop of the city of Myra. That was then in the Byzantine Empire, but now it is in Turkey. He was born around 280 in Patara and probably died on December 6, 343. As it was normal for many Christians at the time, he gave a lot of money to poor people. Nicholas was declared a saint about 200 years after his death. There will then be “Sint” in front of his name.

Presents night

Before the Second World War, there were no present night. Around 1930 there was a major crisis in the Netherlands and there was not much money. After the Second World War, when there was more prosperity (money), more presents could be bought for the children. First children received homemade gifts, but later ordinary gifts from the store. Initially, the packages were intended for children only. Nowadays adults also give each other gifts in the form of a surprise (gifts wrapped in a beautiful craft), often with a nice rhyme. Sinterklaas Present night is still an exciting party for the children, in which the adults play along. In Belgium, presents are opened by the children on the morning of December 6. December 6, the anniversary of St. Nicholas, is also the actual holiday.

Our celebration of Sinterklaas

We have been celebrating Sinterklaas Present night ever since the girls were very small. We use to tell them that Sinterklaas brings all the present in the evening and drop them down the chimney.
Before he comes, we always went to the attic to look out of the windows there to see if we could spot him. At the same moment, one of us went down with an excuse to place all the present in front of our chimney. They bought the idea every year and it was so cute and funny to see their reaction every single year.

Now we do it differently because they don’t believe in Sinterklaas any longer. Instead of having a lot of presents. We each only have to give one person a present which is nicely wrapped in some kind of fun crafting. Together with the present, you will have to add a self-written poem or rhyme about the person you give it to.

Challange

It can be quite a challenge to make this kind of surprise if you are not used to be creative like that or writing a rhyme or a poem just as well. But we all manage every year so far with a little bit of secret help from each other. We are not supposed to know which person the other ones has before we give each other the presents. It can be very difficult some times to keep everything a secret. Therefore we have made extra rules where to go or where not to go before Present night.

So back to last night! We started the evening by sharing a nice meal together. Every year we eat gourmet food and this year was no different. The girls always love to eat gourmet and it has become our tradition to do that every year with Present night. It also brings the family more together and you don’t eat that fast as you normally would do, you simply can’t because you have to wait for your own food to be prepared.

After a successful and delightful dinner, we all took our surprises and placed them on the floor with cushions around for us to sit on. Then we one by one opened the presents and read the rhymes for each other. All of the crafted surprises were absolutely amazing and I am so proud of everyone.

Surprises

But now I think it’s time to show you what our surprises were this year.

Michiel

The first surprise was made by Alieke and she made it for her father. As you can see (I hope) it’s the donkey from ‘Schrek’. Alieke was playing in the musical Schrek last year. She and her father had a funny thing together about the donkey. Behind the tale of the donkey, she left a hole where her father could find his present.


Emmelie

The next surprise is made by my husband Michiel (The father to our children). He made an iPhone 6s to Emmelie. She has just bought a refurbished iPhone 6s, so this was a brilliant idea for her. He made the front like a screenshot of her own phone. He called it the Emphone instead of iPhone and all the app’s he gave a new name as well.

For instance:
Whatsapp‘ he called ‘WhatsEmm‘,
Netflix‘ he called ‘Emfllix‘,
the ‘App store‘ he called the ‘Emm store
and
Instragram‘ got to be ‘InstagrEm

And so there was much more. Brilliant idea!!


Me

This one was for me and made by Emmelie.
She made a beautiful ‘Masterchef pin’ box.
I am crazy about the tv program Masterchef Australia. Emmelie and I always watch it together 4 day’s a week at the moment. In the program, the contestants can win a special pin which gives them some extra advantages. And this is exactly what Emmelie made for me. In the box, she stores my presents which were good little things for my kitchen. The box is a nice size so I will definitely keep it to store something in it.


Alieke

The last one is for Alieke and this one I made for her.
Alieke is a girl of many interests and she loves fashion and styling and making plans for the future. She and I both sit a lot on Pinterest and there we find so many great things that inspire us. She showed me a while ago this cute and cosy retro Volkswagen bus. The retro bus had been transformed into a holiday camper. She told me that one day she would love to go on a vacation like that. I definitely don’t blame her and get her dream.

I translated her dream into this surprise with her presents on top of the bus as a symbol of luggage. Inside the bus, I made a huge bed with cushions and glued some lighting around the ceiling as well. In one of her presents, I gave her a real mini model of the Volkswagen for her to put on a shelf in her room. Like that she will alway’s remember her dream when she looks at it and maybe fulfil it too one day.

It was a very nice evening with great surprises last night. Today I reflex of yesterday and now I can start getting ready for Christmas. I have already taken the Christmas decoration down from the attic and this afternoon I will start on decorating our home for Christmas. It’s about time and for the girls, it’s their favourite time of the year.

What’s your favourite time of the year?

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