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Christmas customs

In the UK, our bringer of Christmas presents spends the night of December 24th coming down chimneys and leaving presents for children to find on the morning of Christmas Day. We call him Father Christmas, though he’s also known as Santa Claus. On what we like to call the Continent many people give presents and celebrate on December 6th, which is the saint’s day of Saint Nicholas (or święty Mikołaj or Saint Nicolas or Heilige Nikolaus or… well, it depends on where in Europe you are).

In Holland, he’s known as Sinterklaas – and Sinterklaas is the origin of the name Santa Claus. They must be very impatient in Holland, because the Dutch can’t even wait until December 6th, and do their present-giving on the eve of Sinterklaas, the evening of December 5th.

To help you through the excitement of Christmas, there’s an Advent Calendar you can check between now and Christmas Eve. Every day, there’s a new little nugget of festive information. You could open all the windows at once, but it’s much more fun to do it day by day.

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Stephen Bullon


  • The Spanish like to give their present on the eve of the 24th December as they are accepting the ´Father Christmas´ role in Christmas but also celebrate the old tradition of King Magic (Rey Mago – 6th January), on the eve of the 5th January huge parades all over Spain take place and the three Kings through sweets and Presents to the children. The day of King Magic is when all the children receive their presents.
    So the Spanish parents have an expensive December.

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