Christmas in the Netherlands

We are already over the half of December, so Christmas is getting closer and closer. The Christmas lights have been hanging in the stores for months now, and Christmas cookies could already be bought in October. But now, mid-December, all the Christmas preparations are in full swing. 

But what are these preparations? Well in the Netherlands, most people send Christmas cards to all the people they know. Dressed up in an ugly Christmas sweater, a picture is taken of the family, and put on the card. In this way, everyone gets the best wishes for the holidays and for New Year.

And then when it is Christmas Eve, all the Dutch are sitting in front of the TV to watch ‘All you need is love’. In this show, Robert ten Brink surprises families or individuals who have a loved one who lives abroad. These are people who live in New Zealand, Canada or Mexico, and who can’t come to the Netherlands during Christmas, because of financial issues. Robert ten Brink and his team make sure this does happen, and he brings them to the Netherlands. This is always a big surprise for the families here. It is an emotional show and a lot of people cry while watching it. Fun way to spend your Christmas Eve, right??? But I guess this is how it’s supposed to be during Christmas: families and loved ones reunited and all together during the holidays. 

The Dutch go crazy during Christmas, they even need two days to celebrate. This is not the case in every country. In the Netherlands, we celebrate Christmas Eve, then we have the First day of Christmas and then also the Second day of Christmas. Enough time to eat, drink and have a good time. Some people even made up a third day to celebrate. Now, during the COVID-pandemic, this might be a nice way to spread the visits over more days, and to see your family, but to still follow the measurements. 

Then, when they are all together in the Netherlands, another tradition takes place: Gourmet. A hot plate in the middle, where everyone can cook their own food. Tiny hamburgers, tiny sausages, tiny pieces of fish, you name it, the Dutch put in on the gourmet. You could say this is a way of barbecuing during winter. Afterwards, your house smells like smoke for a couple of weeks, but gourmetting does feel like Christmas for a lot of people. 

As your advent calendar may have told you this morning, it is only one more week until Christmas. And even though Corona is still a factor, we hope everyone enjoys their holidays with their family. Make it a Christmas to remember and stay healthy! Enjoy your Christmas break and we hope to see you back in 2022!!!