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The huge tree at Neiman Marcus department store in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Noel Morata

Spending Christmas Away from “Home”

It occurred to me recently that, although I don’t even celebrate Christmas, I almost always end up spending the holiday at home. Of course, the term “home” has shifted meaning with each move. I asked several fellow bloggers recently to write a short piece about a place to spend the holiday, besides home. Here’s what they sent:…

glüwein: white in this case

What makes German Christmas Markets Special

Whenever people ask me “How do you like living in Holland?” part of my answer has to do with travel. You see, living in the Netherlands means I can travel to other European countries very easily. In fact, I can drive into Germany in about a half hour. Belgium is about two or three hours…

chocolate figures of Santa Claus, being sold in the Netherlands for Christmas

Christmas Compared

It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve been thinking a lot this year about the holiday as an event. Perhaps because I was much less busy this year than in previous years leading up to it, I’ve been noticing more. I was born in the US and lived there until I was 35, minus the two years…

Winterwelvaart, with the boats all lit up at night.

WinterWelVaart: Groningen’s Christmas Market

The Christmas markets in Germany are famous for their craft stalls, gluwein and generally Christmassy atmosphere. I’ve gone to several in past years; the one in Oldenburg is only about an hour away from my home here in Groningen. Though they’re much less well-known, Dutch cities, including Groningen, also run Christmas markets. WinterWelVaart Groningen’s is…

Christmas market madness

The days are short and the weather is cold, this time of year, and, here in Holland, that often means cold and wet, not snowy. Nevertheless, it’s the most popular time for open-air markets: Christmas markets, to be exact. Going to a Christmas market has become almost traditional in Holland in recent years. Originally, this…