Today, western countries recognize St. Nicholas' Day, but in the Netherlands, a larger celebration the day before is held for Sinterklaas, a Dutch version of Santa Claus. He is said to give out gifts the night before the 6th, with people sharing in different customs to celebrate him.
Central Plains Female Capitals coach, Ferdi Nelissen can recount stories he heard from his mom about Sinterklass, as she is from Holland.
"The rumour was, in each community, as they called him, the Sinterklaas, was always dressed in red. There would always be people in each community that were Sinterklaas helpers to give out the gifts. It was different... we always think everybody's the same in the world, but they're not," says Nelissen.
Nelissen also recalls stories from his family about putting out shoes instead of stockings. He says he was told because Sinterklaas had horses instead of reindeer, the tradition was to put hay in the shoes for them.
Also, instead of finding a lump of coal in your stocking, or ending up on the naughty list, Nelissen was told Sinterklass' helpers, called the 'Black Peters' would put the bad kids in the toy sack, and bring them back to Spain for a year.
"They'd be taken back to Spain. I remember my mom saying you'd be put in the sack. I guess it would be the Christmas bag... you didn't get gifts out of it, you went into it," Nelissen says.
Since Nelissen's family immigrated to Canada, they always celebrated Christmas traditionally on December 25th. He notes it's different in the Netherlands, with the 25th not being celebrated as much, but he says they still do put up Christmas trees like we do with our western traditions.