Tweede Kerstdag

Kerstmarkt in Amsterdam
The Netherlands doesn’t just celebrate one day of Christmas; they have Tweede Kerstdag, literally Second Christmas. That doesn’t mean you get a second day of presents, though. In fact, Eerste Kerstdag (First Christmas) isn’t even that big on presents, since Sinterklaas (Dec. 5) is the bigger gift-giving day. I’m not sure what the background/basis for the second day of celebration is, or if there are any traditional things done on this day. It doesn’t seem to be a big shopping day, either, as many of the stores are closed today.

For us, it’s just an excuse to enjoy another fun meal. Tonight we’ll be doing another round of gourmetten. I think the cheap one we bought last week has more than paid for itself already! We used it first while my friend was visiting and we used it again after she left. It’s a fun way of grilling at the table and gives you a variety of different dishes to enjoy. Tonight we’re having chicken in Thai chili sauce, steak in a sesame/soy sauce, and mini slavink, along with mushrooms and red bell peppers.

To round out this second day of Christmas, I figured I’d post a few more of the Christmas-y photos I took in Amsterdam last week. These were all taken around Leidseplein, an area I’ve gotten to know well due to seeing shows at Melkweg and Paradiso. The first photo above is a small kerstmarkt (Christmas market) set up on one side. The second photo is the other side of the square and shows one of the many oliebollen stalls you’ll find throughout the country. The last one is just a side street with some of the typical lights you’ll see hung across the street. Many of the streets in cities and towns all over have similar lights, varying only in design.

Leidseplein Oliebollen

Amsterdam Xmas Lights

Oh, and one last photo of Pippo in front of our tree. Just because!
Pippo en de kerstboom

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13 thoughts on “Tweede Kerstdag

  1. I didn’t think it was a big shopping day either, until I went to Kalverstraat in Amsterdam. About 90% of the stores were open, and having big sales. There were people EVERYWHERE! Enjoy your dinner!

    • Ah, but Amsterdam always has shops open somewhere! I didn’t venture into the main shopping streets here, so I suppose some of them might have been open. But even for a Monday, there were fewer shops open then usual. ;)

  2. Alison,
    it looks so much cosier since I’m viewing this in a tee shirt and in 23 degrees C .
    I DO miss the Christmas market style booths here though, they helpvgive a great atmosphere to the Christmas celebrations.

  3. In australia we have 2 Christmas days too, the 2nd called boxing day, no gift giving on the 2nd day either, and all the shops are open with after Christmas day sales.
    I miss Christmas in Holland, it’s not the same here with 31 degrees heat!

    • Ha! I grew up in Florida, so a warm Christmas isn’t a completely foreign concept to me. It’s been around 10C here, so it hasn’t been that cold. I was hoping for at least a small dusting of snow on Christmas morning.

  4. According to what I’ve been reading in the last couple of days, tweede kerstdag seems to have the same origin as Boxing Day in Britain. The second day of Christmas seems to have originated in the Middle Ages, when the servants of the important families got a free day to go back to their families and celebrate Christmas. In Britain it’s called Boxing Day bec. the servants used to get a Christmas Box with presents (food mostly) to take back to their families and celebrate with them.

    • Ah! I didn’t realize the concept dated back that far. I grew up with a certain familiarity with Boxing Day and the general idea behind it. I wasn’t sure if the Dutch version was a saint’s day originally or if it had some other basis. Thanks for the explanation!

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