With Christmas luring around the corner, pressure is building up again. What are we going to eat? What presents will I buy and get?  What am I going to wear? ‘What will we ‘do’ with the parents?’ the latter sounding a bit like the title of a home-alone-type-of-movie, which by the way, we will probably also get to see again around Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. I love going into the attic and get the Christmas decorations out of the mothballs. To be honest…when my daughters helped me clear out the house last weekend… I already smuggled some of my favorite decorations into my living room.

According to the unwritten rules of the Netherlands however, I am not supposed to put up any Christmas decorations until after Sinterklaas has left December 5th.  In fact I’m not even supposed to write about Christmas until after Sinterklaas has left, but with the festivities surrounding the children’s friends being smudged the way they are, I have detected a sad and noticable change in the way the Dutch anticipate the arrival of Sinterklaas. It would not surprise me if this is the beginning of the end of a much treasured tradition that I have fond childhood memories of.

So that brings me to Christmas a bit sooner this year. Also here however, there are a few things I have my doubts about where it concerns the way we celebrate the festive season these days.

Could be it’s because I’m getting older and feel nostalgia creeping in. The good old days, when cellphones and computers were non-existent;when you were still waiting for postcards and letters in the mail; when you could go away for  a few days without people being able to get a hold of you in a split second; when you could in fact go without a cellphone, I-pad of computer for a few days without getting withdrawal symptoms.

Could also be it’s because I’m getting weary being part of a consumer’s world where a multitude of cooking programs on television and a overwhelming load of advertising is telling me what to do to make Christmas perfect.

Could also be I am beginning to resent how people spend millions on luxury goods while so many in this world can’t even afford a proper health insurance, not to mention those who who don’t even have a roof over their heads.

What is left about Christmas for me is coziness, the being together, the being grateful for being together. And I even don’t mind spending Christmas alone. To be honest I love the legality of doing absolutely nothing at Christmas. To just curl up with a big pot of tea, a pile of books and scavenge the t.v, guide for my favorite re-runs,( which isn’t ‘Home Alone’ by the way.)

Christmas in sort of a meditative state, going within, contemplating on the years that’s been, setting an intention for the year to come; thinking of how to improve my world, my life, myself; in a  world that is changing rapidly and where there is still a whole lot to do to make it a better place.

Ingrid Schippers 14-11-2017


Click on the card to learn more about its background

The spoken version of this blog, features as end note on  ‘Dutchbuzz’, the radio hour for Internationals every Tuesday ( with the exception of summer and Christmas recess) from 10 to 11 pm on ‘Den Haag FM and can be found in the Programme Archive of  the Dutchbuzz podcasts, dated November 14 2017

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