When I (Krista) was growing up, I had a collection of Santa figures. I have hardly ever collected anything, but I liked my Santa’s. Each year my mom would buy me one or two new Santa’s from a department store. The Santa’s were special because they were from different countries. For example, the Santa for the US was (and still is) called “Santa Claus” and in the box there was a little booklet that described the Christmas tradition of Santa Claus in the American culture. I don’t remember exactly how many I collected or even where they are now (if I had to guess, I’d say in my parent’s attic in Texas). But I do remember that what I loved most was learning the story of the Christmas tradition in other countries.
We have some good friends who are from Holland and they recently shared their Christmas traditions with us. We went over to their apartment to watch their three little girls so the parents could go out. When we arrived the girls were putting their little boots next to the door and putting a carrot in each boot.
The family explained to us that the 5th of December is when Christmas is typically celebrated in Holland in addition to the 25th. Tradition says that Sinterklaas sails all the way from Spain to the Netherlands. He arrives on a big boat in a different dutch port each year. He wears red bishop robes and when he comes ashore all the church-bells ring. During the night, he visits the home of each child and may leave presents for them. The children leave carrots or hay in their boots for his horse and maybe candy or a cookie for him in the kitchen.
Hadassah is the youngest of the three little girls and might have had to borrow a carrot from one of her sisters…