Christmas is far less important in Holland than what I was used to in Canada. And I am lucky enough to have awesome in-laws with whom to spend Christmas!!!
Saturday afternoon, the tweede Kerstdag, we headed over to my mother-in-law's apartment in downtown Leiden, and were greeted with three kisses, a hug, and a cup of tea. As a Dutch friend of mine explained, Dutch people always offer a cup of tea or coffee before you've had time to take your coat off because they worry you may have travelled as much as 30 minutes to get to their home, and are thus on the verge of falling faint with exertion. Canadians will laugh at that, given that it takes 30 minutes just to get to the grocery store. A few hours travel to visit a friend or family member is not unusual!
Exchanging gifts for Christmas isn't a tradition within our family, but I don't know if that is just our family or all Dutch people. We did have a special meal, but it was nothing traditional, just very nice. My sister-in-law is a wonderful cook, and always prepares a meal that is not just delicious but also looks great. I'm a great cook too, but I tend to plop my meals on the plate, whereas hers are much prettier to look at! Unfortunately, my laundry is a little behind so I was wearing my tight pants... and couldn't eat as much as I wanted!
We then played games. We played a game with quiz questions about the Elfstedentocht, which, suprisingly, I did fairly well at. Until the end, when one roll away from the end, I got a bad-luck card and had to return to the beginning. Sigh. We played the boardgame for Ik hou van Holland, which I actually won!! Which is a surprise, since the only answers I could really give were guesses! Then we played a game about grocery shopping which was a bit silly, and then Dutch Scrabble... I came in last, but with only 17 points between me and the winner!! I'm quite proud of my Dutch language skills!
Then we chatted a bit longer, and went to bed. The next morning the four of us walked around a couple of neighbourhoods in Leiden as my husband and I are thinking of moving there. And then Sunday afternoon we headed home.
It was nice and relaxed (and delicious) and all done in Dutch! I'm so blessed with a wonderful family in Holland!
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