Holidays

Christmas crafts (Or: The joy of the unexpected)

One gift that made Marco laugh (for a long time I might add!) was made by Marco’s dad and his wife:

The gift: two bottles of “melted snowman”

How cute is that? We now own two melted snowman! Complete with the melted ice (safely stored in a water bottle) and a tiny plastic bag containing his hat, nose, eyes, and mouth. Hehe!

Another craft from them was the yearly Christmas card – check it out!

Keeping company with the 2018 Christmas caed is an old tin (which previously had Lebkuchen in it) and a fully decked out library.

And a much deserved close up of the Christmas card, so that you can better see the intricacies of it:

Check it out…

Mooi! (beautiful)

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Candles and ornaments (Or: Merry Christmas, 2018)

Merry Christmas!

Pictured above are three ornaments from the early 1980s. On the ornaments are cherubim. Dad bought them for Mom way back when, and I was able to take them with at some point after moving here. So now they go on our tree!  

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Royal Christmas Fair, 2018 (Or: Gifts in The Hague)

The Royal Christmas Fair is running until this Sunday. Here are some photos that I took when I visited with Marco:

Taken on December 14, opening day
How festive!

This year we bought a bag of lebkuchen – German Christmas cookies. YUM!

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Christmas at Bijenkorf (Or: 2018 offerings)

As usual, Bijenkorf (a local upscale department store) has beautiful Christmas displays.

Here is what the Christmas tree looks like this year:

This year they went with a lot of blue lights, and no ornaments. I like it.

For reference the tree starts around the 2nd floor (1st floor if you’re European) and is about four floors tall.

Lots of teddy bears on sale. His official name is ‘Bobbie’ and he has his own page. You might remember him from a previous blog post I did with the window displays – the group of bears was his family.

Entrance to the Christmas department (which is what Kerst Afdeling translates to).
Christmas tree full of Nijntje ornaments – how cute! In English she goes by Miffy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miffy

Bijenkorf always outdoes themselves with their holiday displays!

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Thanksgiving in the States (Or: Photos of cold places)

A few weeks back Marco and I were in the States for Thanksgiving. First we went to Chicago to be tourist-y and then Indianapolis to see my folks again. Actually, Chicago was chosen because there are no direct flights from here to Indy, so we usually tack on an extra city somewhere…

Elmo, the Starbucks mascot at Schiphol airport!
Do you see the “miniature” plane on the roof? Cool!

It was a lot of fun, but I had a hard time adjusting to the cold that first day, which was around the freezing point, or just a bit warmer. After doing some tourist-y stuff near our hotel, we went to a Cheesecake Factory to try and keep me awake. This backfired, since the restaurant keeps their lighting so low I can barely see the menu. As a joke (mostly), Marco pulled out his phone to use the flashlight option. A joke, until we realized the couple across the aisle did the same…

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Christmas window displays (Or: Cuteness at Bijenkorf)

Check out this cute window display at Bijenkorf in The Hague:

Bijenkorf Christmas window display, The Hague, 2018

The cutest part is definitely the teddy bears trying to open the fridge on the right (this part was motorized, so the fridge door did open and close).

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A new Christmas decoration (Or: Spotted at Primark)

Last week I bought my first Christmas decoration, this one at Primark. Marco and I usually buy 1-3 small things a year. I couldn’t resist this cute face and bell…

Christmas decoration at Primark in The Hague, 2018.jpeg

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Oliebollenkraam sighting (Or: Temporary move from Spui to Grote Markt)

Public service announcement: please note the very awesome and tasty oliebollenkraam on the Spuiplein (which has its own Facebook page!) looks to have relocated to the Grote Markt this year:

Location of the Spui oliebollenkraam, The Hague, 2018

This is because of all the construction at the Spuiplein (article in Dutch, with photo), which seems to take over more and more space every week.

The Facebook page for the oliebollen stand says it should open on November 2nd. This is a very popular place to buy oliebollen. Oliebollen (literally “oil balls”) are sort of like donut balls, without any holes. They are typically served with raisins inside, unless you are a heretic like me that eats them plain. Here’s a look at how long the line gets on New Year’s Eve, back in 2014. This stand is popular! Or check out this 1 minute video.

And for the public transportation aficionados reading this (haha), the bus driving past is the old model – it is bus 61, which is a temporary line to take over tram 1 at least through the end of the year. They are busy doing work on the Scheveningseweg.

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Kruidnoten (Or: The state of Christmas this year)

Back in 2013 I wrote a blog post called Kruidnoten (Or: Christmas comes earlier every year). That post mentioned how kruidnoten (Wikipedia) were readily available after September 1st. This candy is traditionally seen in the month of December, both for the Sinterklaas holiday on December 5 as well as Christmas.

This year they were definitely available by August 23, when this photo was taken in a local Hema. Heh.

Kruidnoten by Hema, August 2018.jpg

I give it another 5 years, and then they will be available everywhere by August 1st.

(And in case my parents are wondering, yes, we’ll bring some the next time we visit.)

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SUN! and music (Or: Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague)

The Netherlands is enjoying a rare dose of sun this weekend! And like all good Dutchies, this means going outside to a café or restaurant and baking under the sun for a few hours.

Flowers at the Hof House in The Hague

Flowers at the Hof House https://www.hofhouse.nl

This afternoon Marco, Roger and I went to the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague. Bevrijdingsdag, or Liberation Day, is celebrated on May 5 each year. The day commemorates the end of Nazi occupation during World War II. The day before, May 4, commemorates the Remembrance of the Dead.

Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague, 2018

One of the music stages at the festival

Bevrijdingsfestival music in The Hague, 2018

Another music stage, in the background. The woman in yellow is receiving a ‘Dutch kiss’ (the custom where you kiss each other on the cheek three times to say hello or goodbye).

Vrijheid display at the Bevrijdingsfestival in The Hague, 2018

Vrijheid = Freedom

And do you see what the letters are made of, above? Juliper beer crates! (Juliper is one of the sponsors of the event.)

Now if you excuse me, I will go back to basking in the sun…

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