Thursday, February 22

On Christmas

20 December 2005

If I mentioned before that my favorite pastime here in Leiden is walking and window gazing, I didn’t fully comprehend what an occupation it would be at Christmastime. The usual displays have been removed from the windows and all have been replaced by fabulous Christmas displays. It is magic and wonder alive in the windows of Leiden! The best summing up I can do is to parrot lyric from the musical Scrooge:

Christmas children peep into Christmas windows

See a world as pretty as a dream
Christmas trees and toys
Christmas hopes and joys
Christmas puddings rich with Christmas cream
Christmas presents shine in the Christmas windows

Christmas boxes tied with pretty bows
Wonder what's inside
What delights they hide
But 'till Christmas morning
No one knows
Won't it be exciting if it snows?”

There are stuffed Santas hanging off the outdoor balconies, Angels sitting atop trees, and lights, lights, lights everywhere! Nativity scenes, trains, poinsettias, candles, festive signs declaring “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” both in English and in Dutch are tucked onto window ledges or clinging to the windows.

So in order to keep pace with the Joneses, or the Van Dijk’s as the case may be, we have made our home as festive as possible. The front windows are adorned with lights and homemade paper snowflakes. Our front door boasts a Christmas wreath, the banister is wrapped in tinsel and the tree has been trimmed. We are ready for the holiday. Bring it on!

“I suppose that children everywhere

Will say a Christmas prayer
'Till Santa brings
Their Christmas things
Christmas children hunger for Christmas morning
Christmas day's a wonder to behold
Young ones' dreams come true
Not so young ones too
I believe that story we've been told
Christmas is for children young and old”

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