Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Around The World: The Netherlands

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Christmastime on the streets of Amsterdam, 2009

December 21, 2009

Dreaming of a snowy Christmas in the Netherlands

By Caroline Nelissen

ERMELO, Gelderland, Netherlands – I’ve always loved snow, though I must admit it’s much more fun to watch it from a nicely heated room than to actually plow your way through it.

Indoctrinated by the perfect Christmas card images of little wooden houses and pine trees that are heavy with a thick blanket of blinding white snow, I’ve always thought of snow as something that makes for the perfect Christmas atmosphere. Every year I hope it will be a white Christmas, but here in the Netherlands, romantic Christmas snow more often than not remains a distant dream.
It hardly ever snows here. Instead, most of the time we’re saddled with rain, its more wet and less romantic counterpart. And when it does snow, it’s not the crisp and immaculate kind you see on Christmas cards, but the sort of wet snow that immediately turns all muddy and completely ruins your shoes.
Fortunately, there’s more to Christmas than just snow.
The Christmas card image is not completely lost here, as we do have pine trees in abundance. Most people take one into their homes as a Christmas tree. They decorate them with lights, Christmas balls and other decorations, like “kerstkransjes.” These are cookies or chocolates with a hole in the middle so they can be used as Christmas ornaments.
As it does for many people all over the world, Christmas offers many Dutch people the opportunity to let out their inner decorator.

To read the rest of Caroline's article on Christmas in the Netherlands and see more of her terrific photos, click here.

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