Have you ever wished you could spend Christmas in another country? I have been fortunate and spent many Christmas in foreign countries. Now each year I reflect on what it was like.
Holland is the country where I was married and where my wife's family is. We have spent many Christmas there. But we now stay at home.
In Holland the giving of presents is done on December 6Th. This is the traditional time of year when the story of ST Nicholas is recalled.
St Nicholas was described many ways but the more common one is of and old man in a red coat trimmed in white fur, he had a beard and wore shite gloves. As the story goes the children would place their wooden shoes on the stoop in hopes that St nick would bring them a gift. If they were good children they would wake to find a gift of food or candy or some small toy.But if they were bad children they would get a lump of coal.
So it is that the house are garnished with greenery before the visit of St Nick. that tradition carried over to modern day when we put up our trimmings right after Thanksgiving.
Christmas day in Holland is a religious day and is celebrated with church services, and visitations. Since snow can be rare in Holland much of the country does not get a white Christmas, but in the north and eastern parts snow is more common. In past years when there was a long cold spell the canals would freeze and everyone would go ice skating on the canals.
It became a time of year to rejoice by signing out the old year and rejoice with the new year.A time to forgive old transgressions, and look forward to prosperity in the coming months.