Christmas 2015

While we are now days past Christmas, I can’t not write about it.  What was supposed to be a mellow week before Christmas with no sports, activities, etc, was anything but that.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a great time this past week – we were just busier than planned. Maybe that’s our defense mechanism keeping us from being sad that we are away from home for yet another holiday season.  Or maybe we are just too damn busy lately! Continue reading

Christmas Tree Fail

Today we went to get our Christmas tree.  We went to Intratuin – a gardening center in Almere – that we know sells trees before the 5th of December.  Most Dutch don’t buy their tree this early because they first celebrate Sinterklaas and then after he leaves, they then focus on Christmas.  Last year we got a lot of chuckles from people regarding how “early” we’d bought our tree. Meanwhile, it’s an American tradition to buy right after Thanksgiving. Ahhhh different cultures…always something! Continue reading

The Tale of Sinterklaas

Did you know that Santa Claus is not the original Saint Nick?  Nope, he’s not.  The Dutch Sinterklaas beat him to it.  In fact, it was the Dutch who brought the tale of Santa Claus to the US (as Sinterklaas which was then modified over time) back when New York City was New Amsterdam. And get this, everyone celebrates him, no matter what their religion.  He is a patron saint of children – it does not matter what their belief system is, he gives to all.

Both Santa Claus and Sinterklaas are based off Nikolaos of Myra, a Greek bishop known for secret gift giving.  He became Saint Nicholas around the 4th century.  Like our American Santa Claus, Continue reading

Christmas in Barcelona 2013

I admit I was a bit nervous about how Christmas would go this year given Aidan’s accidental revealing of our big gift to him and Liam (a wii u).  As I mentioned in a recent post, he’s been unsure about his belief in Santa and I haven’t been ready to let go of the magic of Christmas with him yet.  It doesn’t help being away from friends and family this time of year – the traditions we have at home are sometimes hard to recreate 4000 miles away in a foreign country.  And with it being just the four of us, it’s usually a pretty quiet Christmas – something we’ve come to enjoy and yet at the same time, we really miss the normal chaos of visiting with friends and family on Christmas day. Continue reading

Believing

It’s that time of year.  The holidays.  It’s one of my favorite times of year and admittedly it’s all because of Christmas.  This is ironic because by birth, technically I’m Jewish.  But there has always been something about Christmas that draws me in.  It’s not the birth of Christ or anything religious mind you. But it’s the spirit and magic of the holiday.  The lights.  The decorations.  The beauty of snow covered trees (at home, obviously not here as it doesn’t snow) with the lights twinkling under them.  It’s the fantasy of knowing that while something is not technically real, it feels real. Continue reading

Christmas 2012

As much as I love life in Barcelona, I have no problem saying that Christmas here is nothing like that at home.  Not even close.  It’s one of those holidays that makes me ache for the comfort of my house, my Christmas lights, ornaments, stockings hung by the fireplace, an actual fire in said fireplace (though of course not when the stockings are there!) and time with our family and friends.

Continue reading

Our (Non) Christmas Market Day in France

Josh’s parents arrived in Barcelona in time to celebrate the holidays with us.  It’s a visit we’ve been very much looking forward to, especially the kids.  While the holidays here have been great in the last 2 years, there is something to be said about having extended family with you to join in the celebrations.  It’s one of the things we’ve missed about being home.

Continue reading

Spontaneous Day Tripping – Christmas Market in Espinelves

Ahhh, the beauty of having a car!!  With us having Thanksgiving the first weekend we owned our car and me in Madrid last weekend, this was our first chance to get out of the city with our new car.  On Friday night we went back and forth on where we should go on our first big adventure… France?  Tarragona?  Girona?  The choices are endless. Continue reading