Christmas in the Netherlands is always different to what I am used to in the UK. We decided that this year we would be spending time with Michiel’s family, as last year was spent with mine. Instead of going to their house on Christmas eve, we decided to stay here and go on the train to his parents on Christmas Day, which is unusual in itself, because the trains still run over the holidays.
This meant it was our first Christmas in our new apartment, and on Christmas eve, I cooked us a really nice meal, and then we watched misfits (one of my favourite TV shows) until late. The next morning we had a lie-in, exchanged gifts, and then made our way to Michiel’s parents house.
At 1pm GMT, my whole family, and a few of our friends make a toast to absent friends and relations. We arrived at Michiel’s parents with 15 minutes to spare and in time to pop the champagne. I managed to skype with my Dad shortly afterwards who was with my Nan, sister and my niece. I like this tradition the best. It makes me feel connected with my loved ones on what is a very different time of the year in Amsterdam.
Christmas is a good time for games, and this one was no exception. We each buy five EUR1 presents, and then play a game involving stealing presents, swapping places, and generally having fun. I think I managed to take away the most presents at the end of the game, and now I am the proud owner of two rubber duckies for our bath.
Instead of having a traditional Christmas dinner (at lunchtime), we went to a restaurant in the evening. This is definitely a big difference between the British and the Dutch, but it was really good. The restaurant is the same place we went to for Michiel’s dad’s 70th birthday, so the standard was high. We had three courses, and the main was deer, and it was pretty good.
On Boxing day we went for an extremely cold walk on the beach at Berg aan Zee, and then for a warm drink. Of course, I had hot chocolate, which was so delicious, and because we were sat next to a fire, it made me feel quite festive. When we got home we had snacks and drinks, and played another game, and I practiced my Dutch. We had dinner and then came back to Amsterdam.
I had booked the next day off from work, and a friend of a friend was visiting Amsterdam so I went along with them to the Jewish Historical Museum, (which I can recommend) and the Heineken Experience which was super fun. We ended up having dinner at Pata Negra (I feel like I go there every week, I need to go somewhere else soon!)
Yesterday, I went to see the Hobbit with some of Michiel’s friends which was really good. I especially enjoyed Smaug. Once it had finished we had a few drinks and snacks at our place. I feel like I need to start inviting people to dinner now that the edges are nearly done (Michiel’s dad is hard at work as we speak!)
See you on Tuesday or Wednesday for a roundup of my year. Have a great week. Ashley.