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For most of us, the festive season means family visits, plenty of good food and making the most of Christmas TV. However the Christmas holidays are also an ideal opportunity for spending some quality time with friends as well as family. Here is a selection of typical Dutch Christmas activities that you can have fun trying out together this year.
Organise a gamesfest
Nothing is quite as much fun as involving your entire family or circle of friends in an afternoon session of board games. Try good, old-fashioned Dutch board games including Mens Erger Je Niet, Ganzenbord and Barricade or encourage a little friendly competition with classics such as Monopoly or Cluedo. If you’re feeling slightly more energetic, why not organise a lively Wii session that gets everyone up from the sofa? Don’t forget to prepare a generous bowl of crisps or nuts and a range of Dutch soft drinks to fuel your guests throughout their gamesfest!
Take a brisk walk
After eating and drinking to excess, it’s not a bad idea to stretch your legs and enjoy a breath of fresh air. Some gentle exercise will not only aid your digestion, it will also get rid of that uncomfortable, bloated feeling arising from all those mince pies! And, let’s face it – what could be nicer than warming up after a brisk winter’s walk, with an indulgent cup of hot chocolate topped with freshly whipped cream?
Prepare a typical Dutch Christmas dinner – together
For many, Christmas dinner is the highlight of the festive season. Yet, its preparation can be just as much fun, especially if you mobilise family and friends to help you in the kitchen. So, turn the chore of cooking into an intimate family occasion this year by dragging your dinner guests from the dining table and handing them an apron and a long list of culinary tasks. If you’re worried that too many cooks might spoil the Christmas broth, then allocate individuals or teams to a particular course. That way they won’t get under each other’s feet and create unwelcome yuletide tension. Just make sure that someone plays the role of ‘Head Chef’, especially if you want to avoid eating Christmas pudding as a starter. For a traditional Dutch Christmas menu click here.
Visit popular tourist attractions
Tourist attractions often remain open throughout the festive season, making the Christmas holidays an ideal time to explore them. In the Netherlands Christmas traffic jams are not exactly uncommon, so if you suspect that the roads may be busy where you are, then why not go Dutch and jump on your bike? If the weather isn’t particularly conducive to a family cycling trip then you can always hop on a bus or train instead. The most popular Christmas attractions in the Netherlands include the Efteling (a children’s theme park), the Hoge Veluwe National Park and the many charming Christmas Markets that spring up at this time of year. Remember to check the opening hours of your chosen Christmas attraction, as these can vary during the holidays.