Christmas Past and Christmas Future

It’s beginning to look a lot like… no, not Halloween (I didn’t see a single costumed person this past weekend).

No, not Thanksgiving. Yesterday I asked the poultry guy at the market where I could buy a hele kalkoen (whole turkey) and he said he didn’t know. He said he can get whole frozen turkeys on order at Christmas, but that makes me wonder how many frequent flier miles those birds are earning. They’re all about the chicken here but turkeys, truly, live in America. And not so much in Europe.

It’s beginning to look vaguely like Christmas. These garlands appeared over the canals this week, though they’re not lit yet at night. Stores are displaying little elfish Santas—excuse me, Saint Nicholases. And Saint Nick’s politically incorrect sidekick, Zwarte Piet (more on him another day). And chocolate alphabet letters and gingerbread everything and way, way more cookies than normal.

We’ll be spending the holidays in the Netherlands this year, so full coverage ahead on that; and meeting two friends in Salzburg, Austria, for one December weekend. But last year, before we even knew this move was coming, we spent ten days in December touring Germany. This week, a blog entry I wrote about one stop on that trip is a finalist in a travel writing contest on a travel site called The Purple Passport. You can read my entry on winter enchantment in Nurnberg here and check all five finalists as they’re posted here. Two winners will be chosen by reader voting.

If you’re from my homeland, you’ve hopefully already voted once this week. But if your creed is (as my aunt put it recently) to “vote early and often,” I have another opportunity for you. The voting doesn’t open until all five entries are up, and I’m not certain when that will be, but likely over the next day. I’ll post an update when I know for sure!

Speaking of updates: knitting and running. Having mastered the art of the long rectangle of knit stitch (well, sort of mastered it—there are definitely lumpy bits), I was unwilling to let my work go to waste just because there was no obvious use for the shape. So I sewed it shut and made a headband, with a little (nonfunctional) button for flair.

And now I’m going out running, which I have largely neglected since moving here. But if I go today, that’s three times this week!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Christmas Past and Christmas Future

  1. Katie

    Oh man. You know how we do No-Gifts-Let’s-All-Just-Go-To-Aruba Christmas in my family? Well they luff the Christmas there and that Zwarte Piet character shocks the hell out of me every time.

  2. Lianne

    Just Googled “Zwarte Piet.” ‘Nuff said.

    Amazing job on the headband- that rocks! Totally cute.
    And three-cheers for running! Way to go!!

  3. Mathieu

    BTW, if you haven’t stumbled across it yet, David Sedaris wrote is IMHO the definitive foreigner’s-take-on-Zwarte-Piet http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ1202-DEC_SEDARIS

    A classic.

  4. Adrienne

    I love the headband! Quite a cute first project, I must say! You can make one a little wider to help protect your ears from that crazy wind!

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