Friday, December 04, 2009

But Santa, Dear, We're in a Hurry

Santa on 6th Ave
Santa on Sixth Avenue

This photo was actually taken earlier in the week, but I'm posting it as today's daily December Photo because I doubt my abilities to get a new picture out of my camera and onto this blog later today. After work, I'm rushing into a busy weekend; all good things, but I'm anticipating being t-i-r-e-d by the time Sunday night rolls around.

Which doesn't bode well for me, because I'm way beyond t-i-r-e-d already, here on Friday morning.

When is a girl supposed to sleep, exactly?

Anyways, I'm posting this picture today, though it just occurred to me that perhaps I should have saved it for tomorrow. You know what tomorrow is, right?

You don't?

It's Sinterklaas Day!!

In the Netherlands, jolly old St. Nick makes his toy-laden appearance on December 5th, instead of the 25th. Well, let me back up: he actually arrives in the country (via a boat from Spain) in mid-November. Then he spends a couple of weeks touring the country, making house calls, taking inventory on who has been naughty and who has been nice.

Sinterklaas is assisted by his helper, Zwarte Piet, or 'Black Peter' (not to be confused with Sint's trusty white horse, who is also named 'Piet'). If you are a good little boy or girl, Zwarte Piet will bring you gifts and sweets on December 5th. However, if you've been bad, there is always the threat that Zwarte Piet will kidnap you, stuff you in a sack, and ferry you back to Spain. Uh-oh. Be good, kids!

Family and friends also gather on December 5th to exchange presents. It's traditional to wrap each gift in some kind of imaginative packaging, preferably something that reflects the personality of the recipient, i.e., if your grandma likes gardening, maybe you encase her gift in a paper-mache flowerpot. Or if your little brother is a stinker, maybe you wrap his gift up in dirty socks. (Being mischevious is perfect acceptable, and probably won't result in you being forced into slavery by Zwarte Piet.)

Along with the gift, it's customary to write a short poem about the recipient. I love that the emphasis on Sinterklaas Day is not about getting/giving the biggest or most expensive present - the real fun is in being creative with your gift's presentation and poetry.

Hmmm. Writing all this out has made me miss the Netherlands! Love that country. But it's also given me some ideas for putting together my brother's gift this year...heehee. Mischief abounds.

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