Aside from nativity plays, Christmas carol concerts are also missing from our Dutch Christmases. As a child the whole school headed over to the church to sing Christmas carols. Some parents attended and it was the sign that Christmas was nearly here. Don't get me wrong, there are carol concerts (certainly not extremely common) but they are not related to my children's school.
Instead my two eldest boys have a Christmas dinner in school. They put on a shirt and tie and do their hair (Dutch style with gel....). Their classrooms are turned into magical twinkling spaces with candles and Christmas lights and desks become tables decked with colour and self made placemats. We parents provide a menu of hapjes that has been put together by the children themselves. At the end of their meal they sing a song for us. They have a lovely evening, and it has become a custom of their Christmas. My youngest has a Christmas breakfast at the peuterspeelzaal - his first one this year.
However, the food, putting a stocking out on Christmas Eve for Father Christmas to fill, the delivery of presents under the tree to be found on Christmas morning - that's all the traditions of my childhood, being passed on to my children.
There are compromises, and adaptations when it comes to Christmas and our mixed culture home. Our Christmas Day looks different to what is going on behind closed doors in the Dutch streets around us. And that is exactly what makes our Christmas so special - we have taken what is important to us and made it our own. It's our very own British Dutch Christmas.
Do you try to recreate the Christmases from your childhood? Are you passing on Christmas traditions to your children? Or does your Christmas look completely different these days because of where you are living?