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The start of the festive season

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you excited?

For most of us in the Netherlands Christmas is not something we think about just yet. That will come after the fifth of December, when Sinterklaas has gone back to spain. But the festive season does start right now, with the arrival of Sinterklaas. This might sound weird for the people who don't live in the Netherlands, so let me explain.

Believe it or not, but for children in this country Christmas is not the most important holiday of the year. We don't believe in Santa Claus or Father Christmas and the tradition has never been to receive gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Instead we celebrate the birthday of Saint Nicolas on the fifth of December. And that is when we receive presents. The tradition is that Sinterklaas or Saint Nicolas arrives from Spain (he lives there with his helpers) on the second Saturday of November, which was last week. He will return on the sixth of December and the night before that on his birthday he will hand out presents to all the children that have been good in the past year.
It's basically the same thing as Christmas but on a different day and in actual fact Santa Claus and Sinterklaas are the same thing.

I can remember from when I was younger about not really caring all that much about Christmas. The most important date was always the fifth of December. I didn't believe in Father Christmas. Here in the Netherlands Christmas was always about food and celebrating the birth of baby Jesus, never about receiving christmas under the christmas tree. And I still love that about Christmas.

In the last few years with social media and blogger friends from other countries, my love and excitement for Christmas has grown and now I love the whole of December with it's festive spirit.

So yeah, the arrival of Sinterklaas last Saturday marks the start of the festive season for me. I'm officially allowed to watch Christmas movies, listen to christmas music and drink hot chocolates. It's always a crazily busy period, but it's my favourite time of the year. 
These are the plans I have for the coming month and a half:
  • First of all it will be my birthday at the end of November. I will celebrate it with my family on my actual birthday. I'm also planning on meeting up with a good friend and my group of uni friends will meet up the day after to celebrate my birthday, but also Sinterklaas. We are doing secret santa.
  • As I said, my birthday is closely followed by the celebration of Sinterklaas on the fifth. I don't really know how we are celebrating it this year, but I won't be receiving any presents. We might go to the movies though.
  • And then we are storming right ahead to Christmas. I actually have something really really exciting planned for the week before Christmas. I will tell you about it later, but you can expect lots of pictures.
  • And then hopefully we will be partying out 2015 and making awesome resolutions for the New Year.
It's weird isn't it, how traditions alter from family to family and from country to country and I sincerely hope that the celebration of Sinterklaas will never disappear, because it's one of the characteristics of the Dutch culture. Tell me about your plans and traditions surrounding the festive period.
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