On the 5th of December the Dutch celebrate Saint Nicholas.
In the days leading up to 5 December (starting when Saint Nicholas has arrived by steamboat around mid-November), young children put their shoes in front of the chimneys and sing Sinterklaas songs. Often they put a carrot or some hay in their shoes, as a gift to St. Nicholas' horse.
In recent years the horse has been named Schimmel or Amerigo in the Netherlands and Slecht Weer Vandaag in Flanders. The next morning they find a small present in their shoes, ranging from sweets to marbles or some other small toy. On the evening of 5 December, Sinterklaas impersonators (often parents or close by family) bring presents to children who have behaved well (or not; they often both receive presents) in the past year. (thank you wikipedia)
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