Holiday Decorating

A week or so ago Mike and I went out to pick up Christmas decorations. Mike is a HUGE Christmas fan so this was an important errand. Last year at this time we had just moved in and had no furniture or decorations. Now that we were all moved in (obviously) and had the space, we could get a full-size tree with all the trimmings. In town Christmas trees, or Kerstbomen, only come with their roots so Mike decided to get a fake tree instead. (Not to mention you can’t buy real ones until after Sinterklaas Dag.)

kerstboom
We picked up colored lights for the tree but they weren’t bright enough for Mike. So I went back to the store for white lights which are currently on the tree. (Still not completely sure what to do with the multicolored ones…)

ornaments
All our Christmas ornaments are in storage in the States so we had to buy new ones. (We didn’t think the ornaments would make it to the Netherlands in one piece.) We kept it simple and went with red and gold balls. The crown and thistle ornaments are from our travels to the UK. Mike was indifferent to garland but I really wanted garland on the tree. I’d seen a tree wrapped in ribbons somewhere and thought it was a nice garland idea so I bought some ribbon. Below is the end result.

Kerstbom met decoratie

Homemade tree topper
Homemade tree topper

In addition to the tree, we have other holiday decorations scattered around the house: a poinsettia at the market, a silver sleigh to hold cards, a cheery bird garland to decorate the bare wall in the living room, and a Lego Advent Calendar.

Homemade garland
Homemade bird garland
Mike's Lego Advent Calendar
Mike’s Lego Advent Calendar

Happy Sinterklaas Dag

Tonight is pakjesavond (gift evening) where children get gifts from Sinterklaas in their shoes*. There is a lot of singing songs too. This morning I awoke to a chorus of children singing to Sinterklaas. (I live by a school and Sinterklaas and Piet** visited the students today.) While the holiday is mostly for children, Sinterklaas and Piet have been known to visit businesses from time to time to hand out treats to the employees.

Sinterklaas zakje - or Sinterklaas sac
Sinterklaas zakje – or Sinterklaas sac – decorating my wall.

*Some people replace the shoes with burlap sacs featuring a cartoon Sint or Piet design.
**This year not all Pieten are zwarte or black but many colors including stroopwaffel (not kidding). It is a big debate that I won’t get into here but if you are curious there are plenty of articles elsewhere explaining the debate.