Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everybody!! It’s finally here, my favorite holiday of the year and the best about celebrating it at home is that it lasts two whole days here. So this is just Christmas day number 1. And if you count Christmas Eve too, then Christmas spreads over 3 days in the Netherlands… Well, never enough Christmas for me.
After waking Gy, to wish him a merry Christmas and to take the santa hat picture above, the morning was spent getting ready for the big Christmas meal we were going to have in Oma’s hospice later in the afternoon. My mom cooked a turkey and the rest of us prepared some side dishes. After the food was ready, the gifts were wrapped and we were all groomed ourselves, we loaded everything into the car, and drove to Limburg, where our hungry grandparents were waiting for us. In the huge kitchen of the hospice we had fun doing some last minute and silly cooking (don’t worry, I’m not about to stab Gy).
Then everybody sat down at the huge table, which the volunteers at the hospice had nicely set for us in a beautifully decorated living room. Gy carved the turkey and and we all had way too much food, which is a prerequisite for a successful Christmas meal, right? Dessert was a tompoes, a cheap typical Dutch pastry Oma apparently had been craving and she was very happy to see it appear on her plate. Of course, all the other food was well received as well and so were the presents.
Even though the day obviously had a sad undertone, with Oma living in a hospice these days, we still had a nice day and it was really nice to spend a long afternoon with Oma and Opa. And of course we took a bunch of pictures to celebrate the fact that Oma is still here with us today:
There’s another reason I was happy to be here for Christmas because in Japan Christmas is different, to say the least. First of all, it’s not even an official holiday, so people just go to work. People that do celebrate Christmas do it all on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day is the day decorations are taken down as apparently all Christmas spirit fades at the stroke of midnight. Christmas Eve is not a family thing in Japan, it’s more like a second Valentine’s Day and couples go on dates, probably to the local Kentucky Fried Chicken store, because that’s apparently what you’re supposed to eat on Christmas Eve in Japan. Along with a piece of Christmas cake, which is a cake much like the Western birthday cake decorated with Christmas icons instead of candles. Funny thing is that the Japanese think that we all have Christmas cake in the West, and they’re very surprised when they find out that it’s just a Japanese tradition. And I like our traditions better! Tomorrow, one more day of Christmas, yay!

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