The Dutch celebrate Christmas in much the same way as we do in the U.S., but they have separate celebration days for gift-giving and for the religious ceremonies and church-going. Here is a brief description from Love to Know--Christmas:
"In the Netherlands, holiday traditions include Sinterklaas Avond, the midwinter hoornblaazen, and special celebrations on Christmas Day.
Sinterklaas AvondSinterklaas Avond - St. Nicholas Eve - is celebrated annually on December 5 and is considered the eve of Santa Claus's birthday. On this eve, Sinterklaas journeys to the homes of every child in the Netherlands and leaves small gifts and treats for them to enjoy. Sinterklaas is the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus, but he looks quite different from the jolly man depicted in western culture. Sinterklaas is tall and slender, and he wears dark red robes and a hat similar to a bishop's attire. In many traditional images, he is elderly and has a long white beard.
Sinterklaas Avond celebrations actually begin several weeks before December 5, often as early as mid-November. Sinterklass is believed to live in Spain, and he arrives with great fanfare on a steamship at the start of the holiday season. Amsterdam and other port cities generally hold great celebrations to herald his arrival, including parades, ringing church bells, and children's parties.
Sinterklaas is accompanied by his assistant Black Peter (Zwarte Piet), who is dressed in 16th century Spanish attire to symbolize Spain's dominance over the Netherlands during that era. But Black Peter's face is covered with soot and he rides a mule, a stark contrast to the more joyous colors of Sinterklaas's red robes and white horse. It is Black Peter who goes down each home's chimney to leave gifts for the children, though in some legends he is also said to punish disobedient children.
Just as children in western cultures leave cookies for Santa Claus and may leave a treat for his reindeer, children in the Netherlands leave their shoes filled with hay, carrots, and sugar for Sinterklaas's horse. In the morning, the horse treats have been replaced with gifts for the children.
Midwinter HoornblazenRural eastern areas of the country celebrate different Christmas traditions in the Netherlands. In addition to Sinterklaas Avond celebrations, this area is well known for the midwinter hoornblazen, or midwinter horn blowing. Handmade horns - three- or four-foot horns carved from birch or elder saplings - are blown over wells to announce Advent and herald the birth of Christ. The low tone produced from these horns resonating over the wells can be heard for several miles, and it is not unusual for several farms to seemingly call to one another with their horns. In some areas these horns may be blown each day of Advent, or they may be reserved for the first or last days of the spiritual celebration.
Christmas DayDecember 25 is still a holiday in the Netherlands, but since most gift-giving is done on Sinterklaas Avond, this later part of the holiday season is generally more spiritual and involves more church services, concerts, and recitals showcasing religious material. This day is a time for family gatherings and delicious meals, including special breakfasts and formal dinners.
Christmas decorations in the Netherlands include rustic Christmas décor such as pine and holly boughs, simple lights, and candles. Many homes do have Christmas trees, and they may be decorated with all types of lights and ornaments or they may be simpler than western holiday decorations. Themed trees are especially popular. Another popular decoration is poinsettias (kerststers), which are often used as centerpieces, accents, and other holiday décor."
Well, now you know almost everything about Christmas in Holland (The Netherlands). Since their tradition includes Christmas trees, I decided that my iris fold design would be in the form of a tree. So without further delay, here is my card:
For anyone not familiar with the iris folding technique; it starts with a pattern (usually numbered) which indicates the placement of folded bits of paper to form a design. The design has been cut from a piece of card, and the folded bits are taped or glued to the back of the design. The "iris" appears when the card is turned to the front. Here is a photo of my pattern and the cut design:
When I was looking for my iris pattern among my Christmas supplies, I came upon a single card kit packet that I had gotten at a trade show or maybe in a class. So I decided to use the kit as my base, and I pulled papers to coordinate.
I used three scraps to cut the strips for the iris design. The piece of ribbon came in the kit, so I tied the small bow for the top of the tree, and used a scrap of the ribbon for the iris center.
The faux photo corners were cut from another piece from the kit (green) and bits from one of the papers used for the strips, and layered. The sentiment came from a sticker pack.
Then the inside needed some color. I used another of the scraps from the tree as a mat, stamped and embossed the greeting on a piece of white card and layered them.
Now, if you haven't already guessed the translation of my title, of course it's "Merry Christmas." I don't personally know anyone who speaks Dutch, so I elected to use English on my card.
Here are the supplies I can tell you about:
Paper: design scraps from Recollections
Sticker: Dazzles from Hot Off the Press
Stamp: Gina K Designs "Very Merry Christmas" set by Theresa Momber
Embossing Ink and Powder: Versamark ink, Stampendous "Detail Gold"
I used therm-o-web Sticky Dots to affix the bow and foam tape to adhere the centerpiece to the card front.
Thanks so much, as always, for visiting with me today. I hope you've enjoyed your brief visit to Holland to learn just a bit about their Christmas traditions!
So 'til next time.....