If you like Christmas, you'll love Holland. They celebrate it three times! In late November they mark the arrival of Sinterklaas (our Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch holiday). Sinterklaas and his entourage of black (supposedly Moorish, but really Dutch in blackface) helpers travel from town to town giving little goodies (usually ginger cookies) to children.
The Dutch Sinterklaas is a lot skinnier than our Santa Claus (what does that say about us?) and is somewhat more religious since the story goes that he was a Spanish priest who helped the poor.
On December 5th, Sinterklaasavond (Santa Claus eve) The Dutch give gag presents to each other with another real present inside, and read funny poems about the gift receipient. Anyway, come December 25th, the Dutch celebrate again, a more traditional and commercial, (by American standards) Christmas.
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