My wife is Dutch and over the past few years she has introduced me to a number of Dutch traditions – coffee and cake after church, oliebollen on New Year’s day and a fun one which just took place yesterday (Dec. 5th) – Sinterklaas.
My introduction to Sinterklaas came while Renee and I were still dating. My doorbell rang one night and when I opened the front door I found a little package waiting for me filled with interesting things I had not seen before – kruidnoten, a chocolate letter ‘B’ and some speculaas.
I had no idea what was going on or why a gift had been left for me – or who had done it. Renee later fessed up to being the culprit and that after ringing the door bell she had quickly jumped back into her (still running) car and zoomed off so as not to be seen by me. (I found that image quite comical as she was retelling the story.)
She then went on to tell me about the tradition of Sinterklaas’ visit on December 5th delivering gifts. (for more details on the tradition and history of Sinterklaas, check out this link)
Since then, Renee and I have had fun each year surprising each other with Sinterklaas’ arrival.
So, yesterday, while I was at the Dutch store picking up all the goodies for our Sinterklaas’ bags I thought I would also make one up for another special person, that has done so much for the two of us, and include them in the fun – I had no idea the impact that small and simple decision would have.
I merrily packed up the little gift bags and off I went to secretly deliver one to this special individual and of course leave two at our front door for Renee to find when she got home. Renee and I had a good laugh and enjoyed some yummy chocolate after she got her “surprise” at the front door.
About an hour later we got a call, from the individual I decided to surprise, excitedly sharing that Sinterklaas had come to their home as well. They went on to share what a special experience this was for them as they had not had a “Sinterklaas visit” since their mother passed away a number of years ago and it brought back wonderful memories.
By the end of that brief call I think all of our eyes were a little puffy with emotion and I had learned a very valuable lesson – that we should always be on the look out for ways that we can show other that we care and that they’re important to us. We have no idea how even the simplest of gestures, that take so little effort on our part, can mean so much to those around us.
I invite you to join me on the quest to show others we care this Christmas. I guarantee you will see amazing change as you seek to meet the needs of others in your life.