It’s almost Christmas time again. This is always a strange time of year for me.
Thinking back to when I was a child, Christmas wasn’t much more than a late night church sessions full of people who normally wouldn’t go to church so you had to arrive early to get a seat on a cold winter’s night. That was followed by a day or two of bumming around the house in your pajamas and playing Monopoly. It was in other words not that different than any other school holiday.
We don’t exchange gifts at Christmas in the Netherlands; for that we have Sinterklaas. He was a bishop long ago who would give gifts to the poor on his birthday on 5 December. Today he arrives per steamboat some three weeks before the 5th. Children will put their shoe in front of the fire place or the window or the electric heater, because Black Pete (Zwarte Piet), Sinterklaas’ helper, goes down the chimney to leave a small present, lolly or chocolate. This happens every morning until Sinterklaasavond (Sinterklaas Eve), when this is found somewhere in the house filled with gifts:
It’s summer in Australia. After over 25 years of Christmas in winter, I don’t feel very Christmas-y at all in my shorts and thongs. Even with this big tree on top of my desk (literally) and all these awesome presents under it. Even while doing some last minute Christmas shopping and having been organizing the happenings for Christmas day and Boxing day. Even when there were old ladies singing Christmas carols on Bridge Mall, because who can take ‘Let It Snow’ serious when you’re under a canopy to hide from the scorching sun?
I can’t wait for the opening of the presents though. I know I did well and I want to see the look on the faces of the receivers when they open it. I had better play close attention, because there will be four people (myself included) opening gifts at the same time – which is another thing that is so very different from Sinterklaas.
I don’t know what Christmas is about anymore really. I do know I like the giving of gifts and for now that will just have to do!
With love for the new year,