Amsterdam at Christmas image source

Amsterdam at Christmas (image source)


I’m so pleased to be able to share the first in my mini series about Christmas traditions with you this morning. I wasn’t entirely sure which order to post the submissions in, and then this lovely tradition was sent to me all the way from the Netherlands. Just like that my problem was solved. Don’t you love it when that happens?

This tradition comes from Eline who has just started her own blog, Rainy London, which you can find here. Only last week Eline turned 18, so I think it’s only right that I send her a belated congratulations on such a fabulous milestone. (I must admit when I realised it was over a decade since that was me I winced a little bit…)

Here’s Eline to tell you why today is an important day for her.

Here is my Christmas tradition, well it’s not really a Christmas tradition but it is a tradition we have in December.

On the fifth of December my family and I celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicholas. I live in the Netherlands and it is a Dutch tradition to give small children presents on that day. It’s what most people in other countries do on Christmas Eve.

As a child I always remember going to my grandparents on the fifth. We would eat ginger nuts (‘pepernoten’) and other traditional sweets and after that somewhere during the evening we would open presents. It was the tradition that there was a big bag full of presents at the front door, brought there by ‘Black Pete’.

The funny thing is that the Dutch brought this tradition to America in the seventeenth century. Now Santa Claus comes to give children presents all over the world on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus is essentially the same person as Saint Nicholas.

Isn’t it interesting how different cultures celebrate? And how they are taken on by other countries and turned into something slightly different? I find it all fascinating.

Don’t forget if you would like to take part and share you festive traditions you can email me at Just like Eline’s tradition they don’t have to only be about Christmas day.

To Eline and anybody else who is celebrating today I would like to wish you all a very happy St Nicolas’ Eve.


Hollie x


  1. mysparethoughts says:

    My sister spent a year in Holland living with a family and she still celebrates Sintaklaas with them. They send each other small gifts, on the gift tag is a poem which gives the recipient a hint about the gift inside.

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