PA dazzles the holidays with innovative Sinterklaas creations

Dylan Stanford, Staff Writer

By Dylan Stanford

Senior Cat Munitz received the “most creative” award on Dec 16 for her Sinterklaas gift. According to Munitz, she made Charlie Brown out of a yellow shoebox for the body, black tape for the shirt, and a paper towel roll for the arms and legs. 

The “nailed it” award went to senior Kelly Ham.

“For my gift, I took an empty tissue box and created a whale,” said Ham. “After putting the gifts inside [the tissue box], I wrapped the box itself, cut a tail out of cardboard, and made a head by carving a piece of styrofoam.” 

As for the juniors, Lesley Chen received another “most creative” award. 

“My assigned classmate likes turtles, purple, and stars,” said Chen. “So I decided to make a cardboard turtle box and painted a purple galaxy on it. It was a lot of work for me to try and make the shell since I wanted it to be as realistic as possible, but I was very satisfied with my result.”  

Sitting in their first block classes, juniors and seniors around the school were visited by fellow classmates for the delivery of their personalized Sinterklaas gifts created by their peers. 

The tradition of Sinterklaas dates back to the Netherlands over 300 years ago and was originally brought by Dutch settlers. While the celebration has transformed over the years, PAHS adopted Sinterklaas and altered it in a way that promotes the seasonal attitude: the gift of giving.

“My favorite part of Sinterklaas is the creativity I see and the creativity that goes into them,” said VTFT, IB biology teacher, and Sinterklaas coordinator Dr. Camilla Walck. “And also just seeing the faces of excitement when someone gets a really good one, because that’s just the joy of giving.” 

In PA’s version of Sinterklaas, juniors and seniors are all given an envelope that assigns them to someone from their graduating class. In the envelope, there is a slip of paper that includes that person’s hobbies, interests, and other favorite food items. Not only is the task to create a gift of items that the assigned person should like, but it also should be in a container of some sort that represents his or her interests. 

According to Walck, the gifts just keep getting better every year; however, there are always a few that don’t meet the mark. 

“It’s a little frustrating because then someone might have put a lot of time into one and then get one that didn’t have a lot of time spent on it,” said Walck. “But it’s not really about getting, it’s about the giving in life.” 

For next year, the award winners have a few tips for the current juniors.

“My tips are definitely don’t try to make it last minute,” said Chen. “Try to make a box that really reflects the person you are giving it to because the present I received was very disappointing since the box was not at all me. It really doesn’t have to be extravagant but at least put some effort into it.”

For Munitz, she recommends picking a few key themes and ideas from their paper and use that to spark inspiration for their box. If you don’t have the tightest friendship with your person, she suggests getting to know them a little better. 

Ultimately, Sinterklaas is “supposed to be fun, not stressful,”  said Ham. “The whole process just makes me really thankful for my classmates. I love getting excited about doing something personal and fun for them.”