Reading progress:

Christmas in the Netherlands  

Dec 10, 2023

By Jorietha Rabie

In the Netherlands we celebrate St Nicholas on 5 December and then Christmas on 25 December. It is not the same celebration and St Nicholas doesn’t replace Father Christmas.

Our family has decided to use the opportunity to exchange our large gifts on St Nicholas’ Eve, instead of on Christmas Day like we used to do. On Christmas Day we only exchange small gifts that fit in the Christmas stocking, and we focus on the true meaning of Christmas while enjoying our time together.

I cannot describe how much we miss our family and friends who cannot be with us. I miss sitting with them around a big kitchen table in the heat (and darkness) of South Africa. Especially when I see how everybody celebrates Christmas with grandmothers and grandfathers.  

Being so far from my loved ones is one of the most difficult things ever, but I am unbelievably thankful for the friends I have made here in the Netherlands and that we can share this special time with them.

We have a large group of friends here who are also from South Africa, and we are like family to each other. We still enjoy a traditional South African meal here in the Netherlands. We move our furniture out of the way in our small houses – everybody brings not only food but also tables and chairs. We try to see how many of our “family in the Netherlands” can fit into these houses.  

Christmas time in the Netherlands is unbelievably beautiful. All over Europe there are lights and Christmas markets where you can ice-skate outside and enjoy glühwein. We try to visit at least one or two of these markets with our friends. We dress in warm clothes and turn it into a whole outing for the day or weekend.


All the shops are closed on Christmas Day, and your Dutch neighbours bring you Christmas cards. People put the cards on the fireplace in the living room or hang them over a piece of string. It is nice to see how much the Dutch value a card and that they do not care about expensive gifts.

About the author

AfriForum Wêreldwyd

Search

Follow us on
Must read articles
Business in the Spotlight: AanTafelThuis

Business in the Spotlight: AanTafelThuis

This week’s spotlight is on AanTafelThuis. AanTafelThuis is listed on Worldwide’s World Guide free of charge. AfriForum Worldwide’s World Guide is where South African businesses from around the world come together to form a community. This way they become part of this...

The voting days for South Africans abroad

The voting days for South Africans abroad

The voting days for South Africans abroad have been announced! With 29 May being the election date in South Africa, citizens abroad will have the opportunity to vote on either 17 or 18 May, depending on the host country’s dominant religious and cultural practices: In...

Business in the Spotlight: Heinco Plumbing Services

Business in the Spotlight: Heinco Plumbing Services

This week’s spotlight is on Heinco Plumbing Services. Heinco Plumbing Services is listed on Worldwide’s World Guide free of charge. AfriForum Worldwide’s World Guide is where South African businesses from around the world come together to form a community. This way...

AfriForumTV

Newsletter

Contact us

Make a donation

Worldwide friends

You May Also Like…

Subscribe to the Spotlight newsletter and remain involved

Nuusbrief/Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest