Saturday, 24 December 2016

Day 24: Opening the presents

Having lived in the Netherlands for most of my life (yes, still), Christmas as I mentioned before was celebrated for its religious reason only in our home. Yes, we did have a tree, but there were no gifts underneath. And all I knew about Christmas came from the very few Christmas films I had seen by then. Which all mention that Father Christmas or Santa Claus comes at night and delivers his presents in time for Christmas Day.

We of course got them three weeks early, thanks to Saint Nicholas, but other nations also have other customs. The German speaking nations of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (look it up) unwrap their presents on Christmas Eve. They too used to do so on Saint Nicholas, but the protestants didn't like saints, they moved it to after Christmas Mass on Christmas Eve, but that was found to be too late for the children and they now do it at an earlier time on Christmas Eve. 

In Norway Christmas Eve again is the most important day for gifts. The Norwegian Santa is a blend of Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus and the old 'farm man'*. He makes an appearance in a lot of households on Christmas Eve asking whether there are any nice children around, after which presents are given.

And us? When do we open our presents? Well, that depends on when Santa comes to us...

*The old farm man (closest I got to translating/explaining) is a figure in Norwegian folklore. He is different in different parts of the country, but basically he was the one who looked after the farm. Not literally though. At Christmas he wanted a bowl of porridge and there are still quite a few people who will put out a bowl of porridge on Christmas Eve for him (and his family). 


  1. That's exactly how it works ! My whole life I got Christmas presents at Christmas Eve that was in whole Germany like that. The last two years my son decided to give the gifts on Christmas day morning that was awful we were not used to that and not morning people either. My Dutch DIL had never celebrated Christmas and learned it with my son.

  2. Hari Om
    Each must make it their own; whichever way it is celebrated, the key thing is joy and fun. Sending blessings and hugs to you dear blogpal - and to Miss O and Brom too, of course! YAM xx

  3. Dearest Mara, Brom and Oswin, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
    And a very big THANK YOU for my wonderful calendar, I am absolutely thrilled with it!
    Loves and licky kisses
    princess Leah xxx

  4. A newer trend here is even to put out supposed reindeer food. We've always left cookies for Santa, but the reindeer thing is new.

  5. Growing up we always opened our presents on Christmas Eve and of course we would get a few gifts from St. Nick earlier in the month. Christmas day was a big meal. We now open on Christmas Day!

  6. My sisters and I gather the second or third week of December with as many of our families as possible. Usually we gather in the Dallas area at our youngest sister's home. This year it was in Oklahoma. We have a big meal, do a 'Dirty Santa' with the adults after Santa pays a visit to the young ones. Last of all we four give our 'sister gifts'. Christmas with or son and grand children is not done until around January 1. Teddy Bear and I open our gifts to each other on Christmas morning.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!