December is always a month of festivities here. Now, that the kids are bigger, we don’t really do Sinterklaas (traditional St. Nicholas feast here in The Netherlands on December 5th) anymore, so the weekend right after December 5th was free for Mr Esther and I to go away together. Every year we go to a Christmas market in Germany with two college friends of ours. The kids stayed at home alone together, which they throroughly enjoyed. My oldest brother was visting from Israel with his 19 year old daughter (we had seen them at a family Shabbat dinner on the Friday evening before) and they ended up dropping by my kids on Sunday to watch my son play handball and take my kids out to lunch (alas my daughter’s Saturday soccer game had been cancelled last minute due to extremely soggy soccer fields). So, they had a fun weekend while Mr Esther, our friends and I had a lovely Saturday and Sunday away together.
We braved the city of Osnabrück this year, we’d never been there before. I had to give up part of our afternoon city walk through town for a rest in our hotel room, but the evening was reserved for going to the Christmas market. There were some nice bits…
… but 80% of the market was dedicated to food and drink stalls and that is not the point of a Christmas market for us. So, while it was nice, it was not that great. Went back to our hotel and the next day we drove on to Münster, which we have visited several times before but it had been a few years since we had last been there.
The Münster Christmas market delivered, just as we had hoped. Many more arts and crafts stalls and a very nice atmosphere. We had nice Käsekuchen (cheese cake) and also stopped for a late lunch at a restaurant called “Hans im Glück” which had a beautiful natural interior design with tree trunks and very nice food. So, the slightly disappointing Osnabrück Christmas market was nicely counterbalanced by the lovely Münster market.
On our way home in the evening we stopped by a sushi restaurant in The Netherlands for dinner. Yummmm.
Next year will be the 25th anniversary of when the four of us graduated college together, we’re thinking of celebrating by going away for a longer weekend in December to Berlin. That should be fun.
This past weekend we did an early family birthday celebration for my daughter who turns 16 in two days time. My aunt celebrates her 83rd birthday on the same day (these two love sharing a birthday) so I had a shared cake made for them. Their ages combined make them 99 years old together.
So many family parties at the end of the year! Last month we all celebrated my mother’s 85th birthday in the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam with a lunch and a guided tour…
… and at the end of the month we celebrated my niece’s 15th birthday (no pictures) and we still have Christmas coming up! Christmas Eve we have two friends coming over for dinner, Christmas Day we have dinner at my in-laws house and the next day we have a Christmas celebration at my mother’s flat with my family… By the time Christmas is over, Mr Esther and I are ready to crawl back into our anti-social hole. 🙂
In years past, after Christmas, we’d go to a cottage in the north of The Netherlands that my parents used to own to hide away for a bit. This year we have decided to get away for a few days around New Year’s to Frankfurt am Main in Germany; we booked a hotel in the city center there a few weeks ago. My son will have to work (he’s doing an internship in a hotel right now) and plans on going out to party with friends anyway for New Year’s, so it will just be Mr Esther, our daughter and I. Yes, the end of year is always a very busy social (family) time for us. Makes up for being anti-social at other times in the year. 😉