It's December 1, which means that Christmas is just around the corner. Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday, but it's been somewhat diluted since I moved to the Netherlands.
Despite the likelihood of snow in the laat week of December, and our proximity to Germany and their amazing Christmas markets, the Netherlands' Christmasses aren't the Northern Hemisphere dream I thought they were. Dutch people celebrate the festival of Sinterklaas, where Saint Nick travels on his steamboat from Spain in late November to deliver oranges or coal to Dutch children depending on their behaviour (sound familiar? Yes, it's the origin story of Santa). There are great traditions associated with Sinterklaas, like chocolate initials, a horse called Amigo and satirical poem writing, but no decorations, and some politically iffy traditions like Sinterklaas' "helper", Zwarte Piet.
Sinterklaas sails home to Spain on the fifth of December, and there's an ongoing battle in our mixed-culture household about when Sinterklaas ends and Christmas begins. Traditionally, my family has always decorated for Christmas on the 1st of December, but Sander insists that Christmas can't start until Sinterklaas has left the country. Robbing me of an extra five days of Christmas trees and baubles.
Add to this that my Dutchman's mother has her birthday on Christmas Day itself, and you understand my dilemma.
So, I throw myself into other Christmas celebrations to satisfy my yuletide needs. This year is the second time I've hosted SwingStreet's ( my Dutchman's swing dance school) Christmas party, and I'm very happy with my little promo posters for Facebook. Have a look below, and if you're in town, swing on by!
This last poster is the official event image, designed by the talented Dolinde van Beek. The white and gold Art Deco style is just beautiful.