Bookending Winter: Christmas Eve Traditions

Posted december 24, 2019 by Laurie in English, events, Persoonlijk / 1 Comment

I’m back with another Bookending Winter post, and this time with a prompt from the early days of the event. Our host Tabatha wanted to know about our Christmas eve traditions – it’s already Christmas eve tonight, say whaaaaaaaat! – so here we go!

To be honest, we don’t celebrate Christmas eve really. Here in the Netherlands, Christmas is no such thing as it is in like the UK or the US. Of course it’s a thing, but it’s not as big. On December 5, we celebrate another holiday called Sinterklaas, which you could compare to Santa Claus. It’s mainly for little children who get lots and lots of presents. So in families with little children, they mainly don’t do presents with Christmas. Just a few small ones maybe, but not that many. It differs from family to family of course, but Sinterklaas is the main reason why we didn’t celebrate Christmas eve when I was younger.

Since I went to a catholic school when I was a child, we went to church, but we quit as we are not a religious family. However, after I didn’t believe in Sinterklaas anymore, we slowly started celebrating Christmas eve. It was not that big either, we unwrapped presents and went back to what we were doing, mostly watching tv or stuff like that. We’re not really ones for board games and such. And now, we don’t celebrate Christmas eve at all, we moved it to December 26, our second Christmas day.

Here in the Netherlands, we don’t have an official boxing day like in the UK or the US. Your boxing day is our second day of Christmas. So practically we have two days of gatherings and food comas, but in the past 5 years or so a new trend has been developing here as well. Shops started to open their doors. At first mainly supermarkets, but slowly other shops do too. This year, more and more supermarkets are open on Christmas day (December 25 I mean) as well, something that was unthinkable a few years ago. The amount of supermarkets which are open this year increased a lot compared to last year I heard, I believe I heard the number went up from 200 to 1200 stores in one year.

Anyway, Christmas eve. So, we open presents now on the 26th, in any case my mom and I do. My dad and I don’t do presents and that’s fine, because I never know what to put on my Christmas wishlist. On Christmas day we celebrate with friends, always have done that. We just don’t gather with the entire family, never done.

So, as you can see, we don’t have any Christmas eve traditions and honestly that’s fine. Actually, I have to work today and that’s also fine because I find the Christmas holidays the slowest one to pass.

Are there particular Christmas (eve) traditions in your country?


One response to “Bookending Winter: Christmas Eve Traditions

  1. It’s so funny to see what people all do at Christmas. I don’t celebrate Christmas eve at all, but we do unwrap presents on December 25 and have like an official dinner. The 26 however, we just have an official dinner, though I’m not sure what we’ll be doing this year.
    I believe we have 2 days of Christmas, mostly so you can go to both your parents and your partners.

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