Merry Christmas!

Posted December 25, 2013 by Debby in Lifestyle

I just wanted to take the time today to say Merry Christmas to all of you, my lovely readers. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, so if you celebrate some other holiday, I hope that was great for you, but as I do celebrate Christmas I wanted to share some of my favorite things about this holiday.

1. Putting up the Christmas tree!

One of my favorite things as a kid, that I always claimed as my own little job, was to put up the Christmas tree. I could never wait for us to do that and just loved spending hours on it. I also was always my dad’s little helper in putting up the outdoor lights… I just loved decorating. It really made the house feel so Christmas-y and made it pretty much my favorite season. Now, even since I live alone in a 20 square meter room, I always put up my mini-Christmas tree – trying to stick to my personal rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving. (Despite my not celebrating Thanksgiving. What can I say? The US rubbed off on me.)


2. Buying presents for friends and family!

I absolutely love to buy presents for others. It makes me really happy because I can show gratitude and love that way. Now, my family is always really straightforward, and, ever since I was a kid, we would make wishlists and basically 90% of the gifts we got would be from that wishlist. I, myself, however don’t adhere to that. Nope. Even for Secret Santa, or whatever, I try to ignore wishlists, precisely because I feel like with gift giving you can show how well you know someone. Giving them something that is not on their wishlist kind of shows that you really thought about them, their personality, their likes and dislikes, and using your own knowledge derived the perfect present from that.

Obviously, there’s a bit of a risk there that it won’t turn out well, but it does make the present so much more meaningful. Like, people always say, “it’s the thought that counts” – but buying off a wishlist is kind of thoughtless, in a way. Though I am still ecstatic when I get exactly what I want for Christmas, when I get something I hadn’t though of that shows a lot of thought and consideration, that makes me 10 times more excited. But this is just kind of my weird quirk about gift giving. Can anyone relate to this?

3. My favorite Christmas tradition!

20142_1319543546672_6825396_nWhen we moved to the US, we switched from celebrating Sinterklaas to celebrating Christmas. However, when you watch American Christmas movies… we didn’t really like that. You see the children wake up at 6am, rush downstairs, tear up all the wrappings off the presents, and they’re done in 15 minutes. So my family wanted to do something different. We made our own board game for how to open presents. There are squares where you have to sing Christmas carols, answer trivia questions, get a piece of candy, and… pick a present.

Now, additionally, we always put the name on the bottom of the present. So the person who lands on the present square has to pick up a present, and they don’t know who it’s for until they’ve picked it. They then bring it to the person who’s name is on it, and that person unwraps it, and then the game continues. A game can typically take us up to 4-5 hours, so we do break for breakfast/lunch, but it’s a great way to get the family to spend Christmas together and just revel in the presents and the gratitude. πŸ™‚

4. My traditional Christmas dinner!

20142_1319543266665_3035743_nFor Christmas dinner, we mostly always stick to one of the traditional Dutch holiday dinners: gourmetten. It’s another way to make the dinner stretch for hours and ensure you spend the day together. So, it’s this funny little device: it has a hot stone on top where you can grill mini-cuts of meat, fish and vegetables, and underneath there’s slots where you can put mini-pans to mix whatever you want, bake eggs and traditionally, as dessert, pancakes. So basically you cook your dinner yourself. It’s tons of fun, really, and I always look forward to it.

5. My favorite Christmas song!

I love Christmas music, but it must be in moderation. (I used to listen obsessively to the radio stations that played nothing but Christmas music, and I think I reached permanent overload.) But anyway, my favorite song (at least for the past few years) is Little Christmas Tree by the Jackson 5. I always loved the song when I was little, but recently the song became more and more meaningful to me, as a couple of years I had to spend Christmas on my own.

What are some of your favorite things about Christmas?

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9 responses to “Merry Christmas!

  1. Yes, we always have a traditional Christmas diner as well! And I love gourmetten, it’s delicious. Decorating the house and the tree is my favorite thing to do. It makes everything look so coy and festive πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas Debby! Enjoy your time with your family and unwrapping the presents πŸ˜€

  2. Ok, I absolutely love your idea of a game to open the Christmas presents! I’m so going to propose my family we adopt that tradition!

    Merry Christmas!!

  3. Merry Christmas, Debby! (If it is still Christmas in the Netherlands. . . I’m typing this in the evening). I really love Christmas too, and I love hearing about your traditions. I don’t think I could do your family’s dinner so well–I hate cooking my own meat, weird quirk I have–but I love the game for opening presents! Such a unique idea. My family definitely opens presents so quickly and I’ve long wish we spent a little more time together than we tend to on the Holidays. I mean, seeing them is better than nothing seeing them at all, but especially for extended family, it only feels like an hour or two.

    • I get you, though I don’t spend Christmas with extended family often. But it makes me so sad when we open presents quickly and then each go our separate ways to sit behind our computers again. UGH. One day per year it can be different, so that’s what I try to foster in my family πŸ™‚

  4. Merry (belated) Christmas to you too Debby! Thanks for sharing your Christmas traditions, especially earlier in the month with Sinterklaas. I had never heard of it before, so I loved learning about a different Christmas tradition! I love how your family put your own personal twist on opening presents, it sounds incredibly fun and a great way to savor the moment. Also your holiday dinner sounds divine and I love that it makes the entire day about togetherness.

    • Awww thank you Lauren πŸ™‚ That’s what I love most about Christmas: taking one day to spend together, for real, and make it special that way. So I love these little things. πŸ™‚ Too bad there’s almost always some family drama getting in the way ^^; but oh well.

  5. I love the traditions we have on the 24th. My mother’s side gets together and we play games before the children open gifts. We hold a “Chinese Christmas”, but the item has to cost less than $5. It is really fun to see what people bring, or how inventive we get to find the PERFECT C’ X’mas gift.

  6. I loved hearing about how your family opens presents! I think that’s a very clever way of ensuring that you all end up spending quality time together, and having fun doing it. I’d definitely want to do something similar with my own family one day.

    I’m also with you on the wish list thing. While I might get someone a thing or two off their wish list, it’s much more fun for me to try to find things that would mean something to them or that they’d really appreciate! The genuine surprise and gratitude I’ve received from specially picked out gifts somehow just makes the act of giving the gift even more magical πŸ™‚