Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sinterklaas vs Santa Claus - cross-culturalism in our household

So Christmas is becoming a topic of discussion in this house.  Quite understandably as there is two five year olds here SO of course they are getting excited... but this is also where it gets kind of interesting.  My heritage is Dutch (and I was born there) so for me it's also about Sint.

Now when we moved here in the early 1980s we had to pretty much assimilate into Australian culture.  Mind you we did also move into an area where there weren't that many Dutch people around.  So suddenly Sint became Christmas (we did have Christmas or Kerstmas in Holland but Sint is the big one) and Santa started bringing us our presents.  Now my brother and I are pretty cluey - I was 8 and he was 10 when we moved here so we kind of figured that Santa wasn't the real deal.  Mum and Dad did try to convince that we now lived too far away for Sinterklaas to deliver our presents and that Santa would deliver them instead.

Let me pause for a second...

Now logically...
Sinterklaas lives somewhere in most likely the Netherlands Antilles and Santa Claus lives in the North Pole.  It's much of a muchness as to who can deliver presents to a couple of Dutch kids in Brisbane, Australia.

So we basically did figure that Santa wasn't real.  We humoured Mum and Dad though until Dad gave up the pretence of Santa (which was pretty much the Christmas after Mum left).  I know it's silly but there is still a little part of me that does believe in Sinterklaas.  As a rational adult I know he's not real but the kid in me still believes in him.

Now for the background for the Sinterklaas vs Santa Claus discussion in this house.  Facebook is wonderful.  So it has allowed me to actually reconnect with some of my cousins in Holland (because we're from the south of the Netherlands we actually refer to is as Holland - because well we're from Holland).  Last year De Ruijter released a coffee chocolate hail and I asked one of my cousins if she would mind sending me some.  My cousin did as well as... (she blew me away to be honest!) a whole bunch of Sint goodies.  One of the things she sent which has been very much appreciated in this house is a Sinterklaas picture book - Louise and Olivia have already been asking me to read it to them.  Which has given me the opportunity to discuss my childhood and Sinterklaas with them.  We're raising cross-cultural kids!  It's funny I had both of them ask me when we were going to get some more Strooigoed (small biscuits with marshmallows).

So because I have been going back over the Sinterklaas thing with them - the topic of Santa Claus came up.  As in why does Sinterklaas only deliver presents to Europe?  Why can't he deliver them here?  Why does Santa have to deliver presents to the rest of the world?  Now these are obviously questions that I don't have answers too but it is kind of fun exploring their wonder behind it all.

I had to stop yesterday though when Louise told me that she didn't believe in Santa.  I was like YIKES! I am not ready for this!!! But I didn't have to worry - she believes in Sinterklaas.  I actually suspect it's an underhanded way to trying to get two lots of presents.  She was amazed when she found that my birthday is the same day as Sint.  YOU GOT TWO LOTS OF PRESENTS!?!?!  So that may actually have something to do with it.