NL residents spend "a bit more" on Christmas than Sinterklaas gifts
Giving gifts on Christmas has become a tradition in the Netherlands, even though Christmas falls only 20 days after the departure of Sinterklaas. "You can even see that we now spend a little bit more for Christmas than for Sinterklaas," retail expert Hans van Tellingen said to RTL Nieuws.
"Sinterklaas remains important, but you see that other events are becoming increasingly important," Van Tellingen, from shopping center researcher Strabo, said. "It is no longer either-or, but and-and."
Christmas gifts are a tradition that blew over from America. "Just like many other traditions that we see. Such as Halloween, Valentine and Black Friday." But the American Christmas partly came from Dutch colonizers taking Sinterklaas with them, according to Van Tellingen. "The Americans thought that was fun, but did not care much for the date of December 5. They celebrated Christmas, but they did introduce Santa Claus as a figure. A benefactor who gives gifts. So Santa Claus is actually the American variant of the Dutch Sinterklaas."
That means that people in the Netherlands technically celebrate Sinterklaas twice, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, Van Tellingen said. "Some see the Christmas celebration as very Christian, for others it is more a celebration of being together. All in all: it's always good for people to come together and spend time together. Generally, maybe 90 percent of people celebrate Christmas together. And that is the perfect time to give each other gifts. Retail also benefits from that."