Let’s travel around the world to celebrate different holidays this winter! Christmas in the Netherlands is full of magical games, tasty treats and meaningful gifts. Just like in the United States, families celebrate in different ways and exchange gifts. One part of their tradition involves their shoes! Children leave out their shoes filled with hay and carrots as a treat for St. Nicholas’ horses. In return, they receive small treats or presents in their shoes. This fun Wooden Shoe Craft represents this tradition.
St. Nicholas Day
On December 6th, people in the Netherlands celebrate St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, travels to the harbors every winter to bring gifts to good little boys and girls. Everyone celebrates with bells ringings, people cheering, music playing and tons of good food.
Families make tasty food, hot chocolate and letterblankets (a letter cake made in the shape of the family letter). Everyone exchanges gifts, signed from Sinterklaas. The gifts are always wrapped in unique ways to disguise who they might be from. People have hidden gifts in potatoes or even the attic.
At the end of the night, the children put their shoes out with hay and carrots in the hopes that St. Nicholas will see how well they have behaved that year and reward them with treats overnight. Just like Christmas morning in the United States, kids wake up excited to check by the fireplace to see what was left.
You can share interesting facts about this holiday with your students using this LINK.
Making a Wooden Shoe Craft
You can teach your little ones about Christmas in the Netherlands using this fun craft. All you have to do is print the template onto your choice of paper. Print onto colored cardstock and have students cut and paste their pieces. Print onto white paper to create a coloring activity to strengthen fine motor skills.
If you study Christmas Around the World, you can add this to your list of crafts. The completed crafts make amazing bulletin board displays, or students can keep them in their journals, notebooks or suitcases.
The crafts are made with the klompen, a shoe traditionally worn by the Dutch since the 13th century. While they aren’t seen around town in modern days, they are still part of the Christmas tradition, especially when it comes to shoes left by the fireplace on St. Nicholas Day.
To see the craft in action, you can watch this video. I show you how to prep the materials, how to put it all together and how to use the coloring version! Grab the craft HERE.
Christmas Around the World
Want to teach your kids about Christmas Around the World? You can use this extensive bundle which includes 11 Christmas Crafts. Study Christmas in 11 different countries and make 11 different crafts. The crafts include an Advent Wreath, Christmas Cracker, Christmas Tree, La Befana, Matryoshka Doll, Menorah, Poinsettia, Tomten, White Boomer, Wooden Shoe, and Yule Log.
Which holiday traditions do you celebrate each year? I would love to hear about them in the comments!