My oldest son and his new wife live in Belgium and from what I understand there is a Christmas for adults in November(?) while younger members of the family get a visit from Saint Nicholas on the 24th December. Could a Belgian/Dutch forum friend maybe explain this better. My son and daughter-in-law live in Gent, so there could be different traditions In other areas. I do know that he had Christmas dinner on 24th with his in-laws, and have spent Christmas Day recovering I am busy saving all my spare cash so that we can spend next Christmas in Belgium - I NEED to visit the Christmas markets
Michiru (GB1) said:
To share some different traditions, here is how we celebrate Christmas in Germany (minor variations in different parts):24th of December: We call it the "Holy Evening". My family is not very religious so we don't go to church like many others do. This day is otherwise family only, and involves elaborate cooking dinner/lunch. Before opening presents in the evening singing a few christmas songs is mandatory. Younger members of the family are usually "forced" to play the flute or piano or whatever instrument they learned in front of somewhat drunk elderly members of the family. Clapping and cheering is guaranteed, no matter how bad it is. The kids are told that the "gift bringer" who magically places the presents under the christmas tree is the "Christkindchen", who is a little golden-curly-haired angel, (not Jesus), this is very area-special though, and protestant specific if I remember correctly. Other parts say the usual well-known Santa Claus brought them, or the grown-up males organise him to even appear The reason we do the present-opening in the evening and not morning of 25th, is I suppose because of the time difference we think Jesus was born BEFORE midnight 25th +26th december: We call it first and second day of christmas. For this, close friends get invited over, again, elaborate cooking is involved and long walks are tradition too, though I assume the latter tradition resulted from eating too much Whenever we see other people (usually dressed up nicely) on those walks we say "Frohe Weihnachten" (Merry Christmas) to eachother. Whoever, every time.