[noun; ~ Pronunciation: /kris-muh s/
- Definition: A global and annual celebration of the son of God’s birthday, which is often combined with tons of Christmas-themed movies on TV, eating lots of food, joining friends and family, and blogging about this magical time of year
On the 15th of December I was invited to take part in Scalesimple’s 12 Days Of Christmas Blogging challenge. I like a challenge, but unfortunately I am not a very Christmassy person. In fact, I think a comparison with the Grinch might be in order at times, that’s how much I used to dislike Christmas when I was younger :p
Another slight problem for me is that I live in the Netherlands and we have a Saint Nicholas celebration in early December as well, and as it turns out I’ve always been a bigger fan of that than of Christmas (mostly because my parents thought it was too much to have both Saint Nicholas Eve AND Christmas presents, and they always focussed on the former).
Anyway, like I said: I may not be too big of a Christmas-fan, but I do like a challenge! So this post is a summary (and you all know I love those!) of what otherwise would have been a 12 day challenge. I may mix my answers up a bit with memories of Saint Nicholas Eve celebrations, but only because I lack in Christmas experience ;)
My Twelve Points Of Christmas Summary Post:
- My favourite things about Christmas would be the buzz from being with family, and at work there’s usually a feeling-good-vibe going around as well. I enjoy my mother and her obsession for Christmas movies, for even if she’s seen a particular film a dozen times already, she still takes pleasure in watching it again. My dad usually gets into a strange state of generosity, which otherwise hardly ever happens. But mostly, I think, it’s because each year around Christmas/New Year’s Eve we hold our national card-game-tournament (although usually it’s just me and my parents :p). If anything, I LOVE games! And we always have a blast trying to beat each other.
- We have a really good family tradition! Every year we head to the same Chinese restaurant, and when I say we I mean me and my parents, my two older cousins and my godmother (sometimes my sister joins us as well, depending on her own Christmas plans). It’s not so much the food that’s the main focus of our night, but being together with people we, sadly, don’t get to spend time with too often. It’s always a blast, the food’s always superb and because the restaurant is close to where everybody lives, we all get to have a drink.
- Forget the Turkey, forget dinner, this is the best St. Nic/Christmas candy ever invented: a “banketstaaf“:
- I don’t really know of any good Christmas stories, so I’ll go for a nice anecdote: in the Netherlands, it’s customary for organisations to give their employees a “Christmas Box” in the days leading up to the celebrations, literally a box containing goodies (usually some food, candy, wine, etcetera). When I worked for Lidl, we got nothing. It wasn’t company policy to be kind to the people working their butts off in their stores, and why should they give us something extra if we got paid already?
My second Christmas period there, however, we had a new manager. He couldn’t disagree more with the company about not giving us a little bonus, a thank-you, and he selected as many Christmas breads from our stock as he had people working for him on the day of Christmas Eve. We didn’t know about this until we were ready to go home and he stopped us and said: “I value your hard work for Lidl, and even though it may not be much, I want each one of you to take a bread home with you today. Because you deserve a token of appreciation, even if the big bosses don’t want to give you one themselves. This one is from me. Happy Holidays everyone!”
Now that was a lovely Christmas surprise :)
- I don’t really have a wish-list… I just want peace of mind, haha! And for all the bad news/drama to stop. I’d like to cuddle my niece and nephew and see everyone around me happy. I’ve got everything else I want.
Although… I’d like to win the lottery! But only because that would make travelling the world a lot easier ;)
- A fond Christmas memory… No, sorry, I have to go for a Saint Nicholas Eve one for this one. Custom for that celebration is wrapping your gifts in what we call a “surprise”: go crazy with cardboard and other materials to make your present look like something else. A computer, for instance. Or a car, anything to (nicely) tease its recipient.
Did I tell you I can get quite creative? ;) My eldest sister was once dating someone who was nicknamed “The Ice-Beast” (don’t ask…). So I thought it’d be fun to freeze her present. And to top it off, I used snowman-shaped baking tins to make it resemble a figure.
It took her the entire evening to get her present out! :’) She was so mad at me that a few years ago she attempted to make a “panda-poop”-surprise, using ginger bread and other things that look quite disgusting when crumbled to bits. Too bad for her she went into labour the day we were to celebrate St. Nic’s Eve, and she never got to finish it in time :p
- I have two Christmas pictures for you:
- We don’t really have special Christmas traditions where I live… I’ll just use a Saint Nicholas one again, then :p
Each year when November’s halfway done, we officially welcome St. Nic to our country, and the days following that big entrance, to our towns and villages as well (imagine how busy the man must be!). Because my town lacks basically everything except a train station, that’s where we always pick our dearest saint up from, after which he travels to the City Hall as the main star of a parade. There’s candy everywhere and children too, of course, and the whole thing is just one big collection of festivities (and booze for the parents). But when he’s officially entered our village, kids get to place their shoes near the door in the evening so he can fill it at night with toys or candy (kind of like hanging your stocking). The Great Entrance of Saint Nicholas is different for every city in the Netherlands, so I guess ours qualifies as a special tradition ;)
- The people sitting with me for Christmas dinner will be my parents, of course, and the two cousins and godmother I spoke of earlier. Unfortunately, my eldest sister is going over to her mother-in-law, but we will join her and her family on Boxing Day (us Dutchies celebrate TWO days of Christmas!).
- My zumba teacher used it for her cooling down yesterday! I hate Christmas songs (it’s always the same songs every year!), but this one is so horrible it’s great! I can’t help but sing along to it (also, I still have a soft spot for Britney as I used to be a huge fan of her when I was twelve):
- My favourite childhood present would be, I guess, anything from Mattel. Probably the Barbie-horse I got (or was that for my birthday? Not sure). I remember my middle sister once asked for “something nice” for St. Nic’s Eve, and as a result she got a Barbie Beauty Salon Set! I was super jealous and for the next four years or so I asked for “something nice” too, but I never got anything like that :(
- I am grateful for a lot this Christmas! I am grateful me and my family are healthy. I am grateful my clients appreciate me (and tell me so). I am grateful I decided to turn my life around and actually took steps towards it. I am grateful there are people actually reading my blog! I am grateful I have two of the cutest pets ever. I am grateful for the tons of chocolate stashed under our tiny Christmas tree (trust me: it won’t be there any more in a few days). And lastly: I am grateful for StephJ for inviting me to take this Christmas challenge!
I’m supposed to nominate three other bloggers to take the same challenge, but there’s no time left ’til Christmas. At least not this year. Instead, I’ll nominate everyone who reads this to comment on their Christmas: what makes this time of year so special for you? :)