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Christmas lights at the Europa Hotel

Although the refrain is circling its merry tune through my brain cells… I am not going to be SO cliché as to name this posting “It’s beginning to look a lot like…” But its ALL I can think of!

Twinkly lights are up everywhere! People are in a smiley mood! Everyone is laden down with happy packages! It’s cold! It’s raining! It’s December!

When we moved from South Africa to the US when I was a teenager… one of the things that left me awed and breathless was the twinkly colored lights of Christmas time. Nothing quite like that in South Africa! At least not the South Africa I grew up in or remember! Not the balmy, hot, spend-the-days-in-the-pool Christmases I remember as a kid.

Staalstraat's Christmas Lights

Sure, there were fake Christmas trees with decorations… and famously… the Christmas tree my dad made one year out of a broom and cut off branches from pines trees. Sure… there were gifts and Santa stories and all that… But when you suddenly feel a cool (or even cold) breeze, and grey-white days… then the colors and lights of Christmas just feel a bit more special and warm.

And Amsterdam does it with the best… each neighborhood has its own little light display that emerges after or around the December 5th Sinterklaas celebrations to light up the nights. (Many other folks have written in great detail about Sinterklaas traditions in the Netherlands… if you are not familiar… dude… get with your Google!)

Rivierenbuurt Christmas colors

Walking home through the green colored twinkle air while the cold frosts on your breath and your fingers feel like frostbite is but a moment away… well… nothing like it, is there?

Wherever you find yourself this year for Christmas… and not the PC and non-committal ‘holidays’ or ‘winter break’… but CHRISTMAS…. I hope it shines and twinkles for you :)

Don't worry... the packages are just part of the decorations!!!