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What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home

December 15, 2020
Christmas in the Netherlands is something else... literally! It's safe to say that there's no other country that celebrates the holidays quite like this one! And this really shouldn't come as a surprise, should it? After all, the Dutch are known to be laid-back, happy, and at times, even festive people. So it's sort of to be expected that the way they do Christmas is unique yet exciting nonetheless. Unfortunately, going to the Netherlands now isn't the best idea as the global pandemic hasn't gone away. For now, you have to go for the next best thing: doing Dutch Christmas traditions at home!
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home


Awaiting the Arrival of Sinterklaas

One of the more unique Christmas traditions the Netherlands has is that they recognize two Santa Clauses. Or rather, two red-cloaked, white-bearded holy men that come to their homes during Christmas. Both based on the legendary St. Nicholas, the dutch anticipate the arrival of two mythical figures during the holidays. The first is Sinterklaas which, if his name is any indication, is nearer to the saintly man both men were based on. His feast day is on December 6 and kids await his arrival with his aid, Black Peter, and they both give out goodies.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Receiving Gifts from Kerstman

The second of these mythical figures is, as you may have already guessed, Santa Claus himself. Though in the country, he's more referred to as 'Kertsman.' Pretty much like the Santa Claus the rest of the world know and love, this jolly, plump, black-booted man comes every Christmas Eve to leave presents to the nice boys and girls who wrote to him. Even though Sinterklaas is more traditional and more popular in the Netherlands, because of American influence, Santa Claus, or 'Kertsman,' has become just as known in the country during the holidays. Though Dutch kids don't exactly leave out milk and cookies for him.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Singing Dutch Christmas Carols

Also similar to the Americans, Dutch people would often sing Christmas carols during the holiday season. Ordinarily, they'd visit many homes to sing for their neighbors. Or at times, they'd hold special performances in community areas and such. But as going outside and gathering with many people in one place aren't exactly the best things to do right now, singing carols at home with your family is enough. And don't expect the Dutch way to include the classic English songs either! The Dutch have their own Christmas carols which mostly center on the night of Jesus Christ's birth or St. Nicholas himself.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Enjoying Sweets for The Holidays

As with the French, the Dutch love serving sweets for the holidays too! Among them are classic Dutch pastries that you'll find in any cafe in the country when you go there. Appelbeignets (apple fritters), Duivekater (sweet white bread), Kerststol (fruity almond-ladened pastry), and more! It seems that just about anywhere in the world, people prefer to snack on the sweet stuff for the holidays. After all, sweets often brighten up the mood for everyone. Of course, people would prefer to eat them instead of the salty and spicy stuff of everyday cooking.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Blowing A Horn

Another unique tradition the Dutch do for the holidays is to blow the mid-winter horn. More commonly done in the rural areas of the Netherlands instead of the urban districts of Amsterdam and other big cities, this tradition often begins on Advent Sunday. The horn is often made out of wood from the elder trees in the area. Similar to that of an alarm clock, the horn is blown at dawn every single day of the Advent season, up until December 25 arrives. Though it's done not to wake people up—which they can't help but do—but rather to signal the birth of Christ into this world.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Hearing Midnight Mass

Despite what you think the Dutch people are, they're actually pretty religious. For them, Christmas is as much a solemn season as it is a heavily-commercialized period to end the year. So during Christmas Eve, right before the clock strikes 12, the Dutch hear midnight mass. People all gather to church, sing Christmas carols, and pray for the arrival of the Lord. And a massive Christmas Eve dinner often follows soon after. This year, however, instead of going to church, it's possible many religious Dutch people—and you if you want to take part in this tradition—would rather stream an online mass on Christmas Eve instead.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons


Observing Boxing Day

Finally, very much like the UK, the Netherlands also observe Boxing Day. It's an extra free day right after Christmas (December 26) for the whole family to enjoy. Because who'd want to go right back to work after Christmas, right? For the people who work in the Netherlands, Boxing Day is yet another present, one where they can enjoy with their loved ones. Those who hadn't gotten a gift for their friends and family would benefit from the many after-Christmas sales various malls and stores—as well as online shops!—would hold on this day. But for the most part, people just spend Boxing Day with family.
What The Dutch Do During Christmas That You Can Too At Home
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Celebrating Christmas the Dutch way is pretty fun, exciting, and fulfilling at the same time. The main focus of their holiday traditions is to remember what this season, most especially Christmas Day, is all about. And, of course, who to celebrate it with!

For all you lucky people already staying in the Netherlands for the holidays here's to hoping you rented a luxury home for this season! That'll really make your Christmas merry!




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