Christmas Comes Twice a Year (Not a Bond Reference)

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December 25, 2012 by MM

Merry Christmas from Amsterdam!

Christmas snuck up on me more quickly than any I can remember. Partly because I’ve been so busy helping write and create our Christmas show at work. It’s been the best part of my job so far; getting to collaborate to create something good, and performing something I helped write.

Christmas season in The Netherlands starts after Sinterklass leaves, on December 6. Decorations went up all over the city — ice skating rinks; Olliebollen and waffel stands; beautiful lights; and hanging, glowing balls and shapes in the streets — Amsterdam is so indescribably beautiful all the time, but at Christmas time, it really outdoes itself. It looks like a swoopy-roofed Dutch version of that picturesque old-timey English scene in a Charles Dickens book, except everyone is rich and happy, and everything is clean. And it’s 2012, and there’s electricity and a public sewer system. So basically, all the charm of old with all the comfort of new. Church bells ring almost constantly… they’re ringing now, in fact.

Last night I went to a big sushi dinner with friends, then to a gezellig bar. Came home, watched The Muppets Christmas Carol and started recording a Christmas song mashup with my roommate Sam that I hope we finish, because it’s going to blow your doors off when we do, and that is a promise. We stopped all that at 2:30 am, I got ready for bed, and then suddenly realized that I very badly wanted Santa to come overnight — i.e. I wanted us to have a Christmas morning. I had gifts to open that my boyfriend had sent me, but I wanted my roommates to have something, too. It was too late to shop, so I scrounged around my room looking for something I could use as gifts and found my new, unopened stack of blank CDs. So… 2 hours later, at 4:30 AM, the Joy House* CD mixes were made and burned, and I was pooped.

This morning I woke up, labeled and wrapped the mixes, set them downstairs, and anxiously awaited my roommates’ awakening. (And they took their sweet time, boy, oh, boy.) Meanwhile, I opened my gifts from James, which were awesome, of course. Side note: James works for a ribbon and paper company. Last year, we had just recently started dating, and he had his creative team at work wrap my presents. They looked like they came straight out of a catalogue. This year, I could tell he opted for the “wrap-it-himself” option. Adorable.

So anyway, my roommates finally came downstairs; we had a merry Christmas morning; ate things; drank things; etc. I made spaghetti while watching Home Alone on my laptop, we quickly ate said spaghetti and went and saw Wreck-It Ralph at the theatre, which, by the way, we can walk to in about 7 minutes, and it was so, so good.

Now I’m going to meet some other friends for drinks and continue the merriment.

One of the best things about Christmas in Holland is that it lasts for TWO DAYS. That’s right, tomorrow is also Christmas Day! So tomorrow I’ll still be in the Christmas spirit, still have the day and night off, and will still be watching movies and eating things and drinking things.

Merry Christmas!

* There is a plaque outside our front door that says “Joy.” I’m not sure why it’s there, but it doesn’t matter; we are the Joy House.

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