Check out this Christmas tree made of bread rolls:
It is as tasty as it looks. It is actually bake-off bread – you buy it at Albert Heijn and finish baking it in the oven. Perfect toppings include butter, peanut butter, speculaas paste (Wikipedia), and/or hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). If you’re Dutch you would add a layer of butter and then the hagelslag sprinkles, but luckily I am not Dutch so I am exempt.
We also split a mini kerststol(Wikipedia) between us, a sort of sugary Christmas bread with almond paste inside. And it was one of those rare mornings where I went and made a second cup of coffee… Good times!
Our old Hema tree lasted for 9 years before we retired it last year. Actually, going to Hema to pick it up was our first stop after I moved to The Netherlands – I arrived on 18 December and on 19 December we picked up the tree at the local Hema store.
We have upgraded to a slightly taller tree (so we had to rearrange a few things and place it somewhere else). This tree comes in three parts and is pre-lit. Unfortunately we could only find a pre-lit tree with warm white lights, not the colored lights that most American trees have. But otherwise it was a nice purchase. A bit more annoying to set up then we expected, but we will be old pros by next year.
Marco took a photo of the Christmas tree in front of the Mauritshuis museum here in The Hague (official website in English). Since we are in a lockdown again, the museum is promoting their virtual museum, aptly called the Gigapixel museum. The museum is most known for having Vermeer’s The Girl with the Pearl Earring on display. Aka room 15, floor 2, in the lower right corner of the Gigapixel museum.
Earlier this month I took a photo of Christmas decorations at a local homeware store called Casa (Dutch website). This was of course before the lockdown started and stores were closed, although pickup and delivery are still allowed.
I like the toy in the front, of an pendulum-based amusement ride. It reminds me of the Zipper ride (English Wikipedia) which is an even crazier design where your individual carriage also flipped while the ride spins. When I was just a kid, my mom would occasionally go on the Zipper when the carnival was in town (sometimes with my cousin Roxanne, I think?). I was always pretty shocked by this, as I never wanted to go anywhere near the contraption. I liked watching others go on it, though. From a safe distance. At some point as I grew up Mom stopped going on it, as it can get pretty painful to ride it of course. But whenever I see a ride like that I always think of her riding it.
As a kid my biggest accomplishment was riding the Tower of Terror. Twice. I was pretty proud of that. But I did skip on the (admittedly wimpy) Thunder Mountain roller coaster, until years later when Marco and I went on it. The first time around I kept my eyes tightly shut and kept whispering “No no no”. Oh, and I watched a few YouTube videos to help me get a sense of where all the turns would be before getting on it. Things went much better after that first time and I decided it was safe to actually look around on the second ride. Heh.
Here is a quick look at the Christmas decorations at Bijenkorf, a high-end store here in The Hague. They are also the store with the beautiful Christmas window displays each year; see also this year’s post about those.
First off, the very tall Christmas tree (spanning about 4 floors) which changes every year. They usually put it up before Sinterklaas and decorate it for that December 5 holiday first, but I didn’t get any pictures of those decorations this year. Also, sorry about the not getting closer to take the photo :), but times like this bring out my slight fear of heights!
Marco, Roger and I were able to squeeze in one last movie on Saturday morning before the lockdown arrived on Sunday. We booked the tickets for Spider-Man: No Way Home a week previously, as soon as they went on sale. We even had to wait in a virtual queue for an hour to get them! In the end, Roger was the lucky one who was able to get into the site and book tickets (after some technical difficulties as the website and app kept crashing due to the Spider-Man demand). They were great seats, too.
I must say the movie theatre itself was definitely doing everything they could to take it a safe experience. You were required to show your CoronaCheck app (vaccinated, tested or recovered) to get in and wear a facemack until you were sitting in your seat. There was also social distancing in the theater; the seats around your group’s purchase were blocked out automatically and not available to purchase.
Since we are Marvel geeks we already had tickets for a second showing for Spider-Man on Sunday morning, but we will unfortunately get an automatic refund for those. We understand how lucky we were to be able to see it on Saturday, even. And Mom, if you’re reading this: what Marco and I told you about Spider-Man was an integral part of the movie! (“Hey Mom, did you know…?”)
Christmas tree at Pathé Spui near the drink/food area. Actually it is right next to the Starbucks coffee machines. And the rooster on the right side is because Pathe’s logo is a rooster.
It must be December because the Christmas tree is back in De Passage! (aka The Passage, a covered shopping area in the city centre of The Hague).
The cool thing about De Passage is that is more of a triangle shaped hallway. As you can see above the tree is placed at the intersection of those three parts, so it is always visible when you enter.
Oh, and a few months back they did remove the greenery which was separating the walkway in De Passage (corona measures). Though I wouldn’t be surprised if it came back. Yesterday one of the local Albert Heijn supermarkets had a security guard posted outside the entrance checking that everyone was wearing a facemark and this evening a local Jumbo supermarket had a line of about 15 people waiting to get in, probably because they started putting a limit on the number of people who could be inside at the same time. I haven’t seen those measures since the first half of 2020.
Here is a look at the outdoor decorations at Bijenkorf here in The Hague (Bijenkorf is a high-end retail store). These lights and decorations go up every year. Actually the lights were already up when Marco and returned from the United States back in late October, although the window displays weren’t ready for a few more weeks.
And here is a look at some of the window displays. They change every year and usually draw a crowd (though less of a crowd this year and last year, of course).
It is hard to believe that it is almost December…
In the meantime, the current corona wave is still going strong, with intensive care units filling up. There was another press conference tonight, a week earlier than originally planned. Here is a look at the measures that go into effect Sunday morning, in English at government.nl.
There was another “noise” demonstration near Central Station this evening; the press conference is held in that area so the people outside try to make as much noise as possible to get heard on television. See also some images at regio.15 (text in Dutch). There were some pretty grim demonstrations last week so this time the military was present instead of the police. This demonstration went rather peacefully though, especially in comparison to the riots last week in Rotterdam (theguardian.com).
Marco and I visited Action today. Action (English Wikipedia) is a cheap store, kind of like Dollar General in the US without saying everything is a dollar.
Imagine my surprise (okay, not really) when we saw that Action was selling kruidnoten (English Wikipedia) already. Although I know Roger already saw some at the beginning of this month. Kruidnoten is a hard cookie-like confectionery sold in the time leading up to the Sinterklaas holiday on 5 December. These days it starts appearing in August, and 2021 was no exception.