penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.


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Today I opened the sixth door on my advent calendar and found…Sinterklaas.

Sinterklaas has visited our house each year since my daughter was born. Each year they leave out their wooden klompen on December 5 and the morning of December 6, he has given a few small treats to helps celebrate the advent season. Usually he gives something that can be enjoyed before Christmas – like a seasonal book, mittens or fluffy jammmies.  He always leaves a chocolate letter.

In Holland, he arrives on a boat and rides through the streets giving out candy to the children.  In our house, he is Santa’s brother (after a fashion) and rides a horse named Poinsettia.

Sinterklaas is not from my cultural background – but from my husband’s Dutch parentage.  I tend to see myself more as Scottish, and my mother has told me that New Year’s was an important tradition in their house.  But I have always enjoyed the small ritual of Sinterklaas coming to our house – bringing a little extra surprise to help us prepare for the Christmas to come.

Each year, Sinterklaas writes a letter – but he is still trying to get used to writing it on the computer and so is not always inspired.  This was this year’s letter:

From the Deck of Sinterklaas’ Boat

“A little something for your shoe and for you too”

December 6, 2014

1 Pepernoten  Place

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Dear children:

My goodness, you have all grown up so big and tall over the last year! I could hardly recognize you as you were sleeping. Diva, I can’t believe you are going to be in double digits soon (I remember when you were just a baby!)  Stuntboy, I see you have lost another tooth! (Remember, last year when I visited, you had lost two?)  Stitch, are you really five years old? Where does the time go?  My horse Poinsettia can hardly believe her eyes either.

I hope that you have all been good at home and at school.  Poinsettia has been listening when you aren’t looking and she says that mostly you have been pretty good.

This year, I heard your mom was reading you a book about a big Christmas tree. So I am sending you another something to read that I thought you might enjoy (and you should sing along too).  I have also noticed that you have quite a few decorations on your tree (I’m not sure you have space for any more!) So I am only sending one this year.  But it is a very special one – it is a little angel that will help people living far away in Africa.

I’m also sending you a couple of treats – because what is a holiday without treats?

I am a little late – I’m still trying to get the hang of writing on this computer, and Poinsettia has told me we have a boat to catch.  I will say hello to my Brother Santa for you – he is looking forward to seeing you soon too!

See you next year!

Sint Nicolaas


Written by pennyinacastle

December 7, 2014 at 3:25 am

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