Hellooooo - sorry for being away for so long, I've been sick and sleeping and nothing else.
Ok, that's not entirely true. I still got my kids up and to school everyday and we all still ate and some of the washing still got done but when not busy doing those non-negotiable things I was sleeping.
So I know I've got some catching up to do.
Firstly, during this time Saint-Nicholas made his appearance in houses all over Belgium. In general I would say that St. Nicholas is more important in Belgian families than Santa.
In our house we have both but of course the arrival of Santa is the big thing and he also brings our kids more gifts. is Before going to bed on the 5th of December kids will put out their shoes for the saint. They might also add some carrots or sugar lumps for the saint's horse and something for the saint to drink. (Some people are known to leave a glass of wine for the saint, we just leave him a glass of milk).
If they have been good they will get presents chocolate, and spiced cookies called speculoos marzipan and mandarins. If they were bad the saint's helper Swarte Piet (the Flemish name) meaning 'Black Peter' or Père Fouettard as he is known in French will leave sticks or coal in their shoes. Of course all kids are good.
My work gives a huge Saint-Nicholas party for all the kids every year. So on Sunday 4 December I dragged myself out of bed & we made it to the party for about 2 hours so the kids could get their presents.
We have finally also put up our Christmas tree. Of course I had more fun doing it than the kids who got bored ½ way but we were dancing around to Christmas music and drinking hot cocoa when it was all done.
So far the dogs have been reasonably well behaved. I think we've only lost about 3 decorations to them. However, last night one of them knocked the tree down and I was very sad to discover that that my Trump Towers decoration which a friend brought over from Chicago last year broke.