The Open Book Family

This blog is called The Open Book. I write a lot about books, but hardly anything about myself. But last night something happened which really made me want to share something personal with you. We celebrated Christmas, like most of you might have. However, we mixed it with a quintessentially Dutch tradition, Sinterklaas, which most of you might not have. I received the best gift ever. Want to know what it was? Read on!

You might have heard of it: Sinterklaas. This is basically what it’s about: we give presents, accompanied by poems and so-called surprises (pronounce it in the French way) which are arts-and-crafty presents which look funny and say something about the person receiving the gifts.

Because of the Coronavirus we couldn’t celebrate Sinterklaas on the actual date, the fifth of December, so we decided to celebrate Christmas and Sinterklaas together. Both are about bearded old men (one of them quite a bit fatter than the other) in red clothes handing out presents, so it made perfect sense to us.

We had food, we had drinks, and, like I said, we had presents. Mine was perfect. I received a box painted with an alternative logo for the Open Book:

Painting by Roos, my sister-in-law. Thank you so much!

Look at it! This will probably not make any sense to you, but it made me smile quite a bit. If you’re like me, then you had a favourite animal as a child – and so did your siblings. You might even have had lots of stuffed toys shaped like that animal. Mine is a giraffe, my older brother had a beaver toy which is now completely threadbare, and my younger brother has always had a fondness for hippopotamuses. Actually, my love for giraffes is so infamous in my inner circle that to this day I still receive giraffes in all shapes and sizes – my house is filled with magnets, pens, more stuffed toys… You name it, and I’ve got a giraffe-shaped version of it.

But this painting really is something else. I love how it symbolises all three of us, together. It shows that I’m part of a family, and that we all have our own identities, but are still somewhat similar. And, seeing as this is a book blog, it also reminded me of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials: are these animals our daemons? Please, tell me they are.

What was your favourite animal when you were a child? Do you have similar traditions with your own family? And: should I replace my actual logo with this one? Let me know in the comments! Don’t forget to follow me for more bookish posts!

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