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Christmas for a Dutch Guy

December 20, 2008 by · No comments

Ralph Pluim

I like to think Christmas being peaceful and warm, with some darkness thrown in just for the effect, so we can all huddle together beneath that big Christmas tree and have a good time.

But how do Dutch people celebrate Christmas?

Here in the Netherlands Christmas Eve is all about going to church. Not so surprising I suppose, but here in the Netherlands people are not so religious anymore. Most churches are empty now and are left for another commercial pursuit. But at Christmas Eve everyone (well almost everyone) seems to get that long lost spark back. The sense that Christmas is more than drinking, eating and watching awful reality soaps dedicated to Santa. What that spark is, most people cannot explain, it’s just something you do before the eating, drinking…well you’ve got the picture.

Photo: pkeleher

Then the first day we have the: “I’m glad to be at home days,” with maybe grandma on the doorstep, who has to be invited in but otherwise all quietly. Most people eat at home, and that was even before the recession and then at the second day most people get out to visit the family you didn’t invite the first day and then they close the day with eating outside. Not really outside, that would be too cold and then it’s over.

For me Christmas Eve is mostly sitting all alone in my room, listening to music that evokes my spiritual being and thinking about what has passed. And after that it’s mostly one day with my parents and the other day doing activities that doesn’t necessarily include my parents, but still with that magic Christmas spark burning.

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