Expat life: Christmas in Amsterdam
Christmas. That time of year when everything is sparkly, people are merry, and bank accounts are empty. Since moving to Amsterdam 6 years ago, I have never put up a tree. Why? I don’t know… Christmas feels like something for England, in the home of my parents.
Christmas in Amsterdam just always felt a bit strange and why-am-I-doing-this… The Dutch definitely do not celebrate Christmas the same way the British do. The absolutely absurd holiday of Sinterklaas is more of a big deal in the Netherlands, taking place on the 5th December every year. (Google the ongoing controversies of the Zwarte Piet… the, ahem, ”soot” faced helpers of Mr Sinterklaas himself.)
But, regardless of being surrounded by the low-key version of Christmas in Amsterdam, this year, I did it. I got a tree. Maybe it’s because my studio in the Jordaan is a place that I finally feel is my own, and after six years in Amsterdam, everything really feels like home? Or, again, maybe it’s just because my 20s are slowly slipping away and cushy Sundays stringing up Christmas trees are now going to be my thing… Who knows. But we got a tiny little fake tree, tiny little glass baubles, and a loooong, long string of fairy lights and spent Sunday afternoon stringing up the petit pois of a tree. Okay, we spent 10 minutes of the afternoon doing it. It’s a tiny tree, after all.