The Daily Dutchess

an introvert's journey to a new life, one stitch at a time

Christmas has come and gone and as long as it took to prepare for it and actually get there, it was over in a jiffy.
Over here in The Netherlands, we call December 26th Second Christmas Day. It’s not Christmas Day. It’s not Boxing Day (which had a purpose in the old days). No, it’s just another day to add to the Christmas cheer. A day of convenience really, because how else are we going to celebrate with all of our extended families. Christmas Day is spent with family. Second Christmas day is spent with in-laws. Or the other way around on alternate years. Just so everyone is kept happy and content. That’s the way it’s always been and always will be I guess. Even though most of us are already way over the holiday spirit by the time Christmas Day rolls around, and ready to leave the house, hit a pub and see some friends to take a load off.

I pondered which part of the Holiday season actually is the most important for me personally, and honestly, it’s Christmas Eve. And maybe Christmas Day morning/early afternoon. The reason for that is that when I was little at our house we would “do” Christmas Eve properly. My grandparents went as far as trimming the tree on that evening and not a day sooner. And then on The Eve, the (real) candles were lit, with my grandfather keeping a bucket of sand AND a bucket of water on standby incase the tree needed err.. attention. It never did burn down, but oh my it was exciting!
After the candles had finished burning and were carefully extinguished, the adults would go to mass, and then come home to a buffet of warm rolls, coffee, hot cocoa and all that good stuff.

The next morning, presents were opened and played with all day long, only interrupted by a good long walk in the woods or the park to get some fresh air. I can’t ever remember it being about tons of food, drinks and passing out in front of the telly until years later. Anways, the perfect Christmas? It’s what you make it.

The Best Boyfriend and I decided to keep with our frugal goals for this year (and the next) and extend them somewhat into Christmas. We did do presents (I even knitted him a scarf!! more on that later) but we decided to not only spend less, but also earn some extra cash in the process. So we both opted to work afternoon/evening shifts at our jobs, which typically pay better due to the holidays than regular shifts.

That left us with ample time in the morning to have breakfast/lunch and upon coming home (typically after midnight) we pulled out a bit of Christmas cheer with some good champagne, a cheese and nuts platter and our favorite series of the moment. Outlander. Just started it, highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

All things considered, this was a very Zen Christmas. Virtually stress-less, relaxed and enjoyable. We had a lovely loaf of raisin bread and good coffee. Called the parents and sisters while still lazing in bed. We spent our free time doing whatever we felt like doing. Granted, the food at work could have been better, and it’s not very cheerful sitting alone on a empty and DARK floor at work. But, with one’s knitting in hand and a glass of red to sip from while keeping one eye on the Christmas movie du-jour it was completely bearable.

Now show me the money. J/k. No not really. Show me.

Kidding aside, I hope you all had a great Christmas that brought you all your wants and needs.
Time to focus on getting the new year off to a good start. Let’s do this!

Love

~Monique

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