[Dutch Lock Down Day Two Hundred Sixty Two]
Friend: “How do you all celebrate the 24th / 25th – is one more important than the other, I mean, culturally? Cause of Sweden? Or America? Or …?”
Me: “The Swedes celebrate on the 24th while the Americans celebrate more on the 25th and at our house, we kind of split the difference, but more celebrate per Sweden.”
But first the news:
- Few options for Christmas as coronavirus cases rise again
- Half of invoices paid late since Covid outbreak
- Virologist urges caution, says coronavirus rules should remain at Christmas
Based on my extensive experience growing up in America and marrying a Swede – you can tell that this information is representative of the entire American and Swedish cultures.
Christmas dinner just started happening last year, for realsies, and we did it on Christmas Eve, but in America it’s typically not so big a deal as you also attend church on Christmas Eve – going to the candlelight service.
I don’t know; maybe other families had their big dinners on Eve, but not ours – it was just my mother and I for most of my childhood and she typically RAN the candlelight service, so our family was all about that event rather than something as posh as fancy dinner.
I think when we all lived in the States, the Leanders would celebrate Xmas in Maryland (with the grandparents) the day AFTER Xmas – on Boxing Day – because that’s the day that the oldest brother arrived with his minions.
And we just kind of floated along and did whatever when we moved to the Netherlands.
As a matter of fact, seven years ago for Xmas, we flew down to Lanzarote and it was fucking brilliant. 80ish / 20ish degree weather on a tiny island that has beaches and forests and dunes and camels and that’s where we started ‘trying’ to have kids.
It wasn’t until First Minion arrived that we realized we had THREE cultures’ worth of Xmas traditions to blend when I came up with this: SinterKlaas would be minimal, Tomten would bring the big gifts on Xmas Eve, and American Santa would bring Xmas stockings on Xmas Day.
Which we’ve done for four years now.
Last year was the first time we actually got together with another family and put together a Xmas dinner on Xmas Eve, but this year we’ll do Xmas Day because one of our guests is running Candlelight Service, which feels full circle, if I’m honest.
And I love it.