St.Nicolas Obsessions

Tomorrow we are celebrating Sinterklaas, or St.Nicolas’ birthday. It’s the climax of the traditional Dutch gift-giving season embracing the last two weeks of November and the first week of December. During this period, kids sing century-old songs (lately replaced by their less racist versions) and get to place their shoes (or in our case, roller-skates) in front of the fireplace every few nights before bedtime to find them filled with small presents and seasonal goodies (like spicy ginger cookies and special chocolates) in the morning. The legend goes that while the children are asleep, St.Nicolas and his gang of sooty-faced pages drop by to slide the gifts in their shoes, but Simon and Neva are old enough to have realized it’s just me. The magic isn’t gone though. On the contrary, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them this preoccupied with St.Nocolas before and it’s all thanks to the so-called Sinterklaasjournaal, a daily St.Nicolas news show on Dutch tv packed with irony and allusions to current events. Neva has even programmed her first game ever, inspired by the classic games featured on the Sinterklaasjournaal website. She came up with the algorithms all on her own, and Simon helped her a little with writing the actual code. She didn’t want to use any arrays and classes yet, so she wrote spaghetti code instead 🙂

Play Neva’s game here. Eat all the spicy cookies before your time runs out and you win! See the code here.

Dad playing the game

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