December 5. This is the adult version of Sinterklaas - the way the Dutch give gifts when there are no children around. Older school children also make surprises (pronounced suepreeses) for each other.

What happens is this: You decide to celebrate Sinterklaas with family or friends. Then you spend the next few weeks buying presents for everyone and disguising them as something else.Then you write a long and witty poem to go with each gift. If you are sensible, you will put all the names in a hat and draw out one person. Otherwise you will have exhausted all your creativity for months.

The presents are amazingly ingenious. My husband once gave me a rainbow, which hid a pair of gloves. The poems can be terribly pointed about people's faults. Its a great way to tease children who never tidy their rooms or leave chewing gum all over the place. But I am always astounded by how much time and effort people put into their presents.