The holidays are a special time of year. They bring us together, remind of us of what we value most and inspire a warmth and cheer unlike any other time of the year.
While the folks at Designsensory are busy putting the finishing touches on our holiday plans, we thought we would ask our friends and family in other parts of the world how they celebrate the yuletide season. It's a great reminder that while we may have different traditions and celebrations, the moments that we create for ourselves, and the feelings that those moments invoke unite us all.
Prettige Kerstfeest, from René in The Netherlands
“Children in The Netherlands get most excited for the night of December 5th. This is the night Sinterklaas brings presents to all the children who have been good that year and leaves them in their shoes. Sinterklaas parties are held where friends and family play treasure hunt games with poems and riddles giving clues. Children follow the clues to find small presents left by Sinterklaas.
On December 6th, Sinterklaas travels to a different town in The Netherlands each year, wearing his red bishop’s robes. When his boat comes ashore, church bells ring and Sinterklaas leads a procession through town, riding a white horse.”
Joyeux Noël, from Clément in France
“The very best part of Christmas for me is réveillion, the Christmas feast. On Christmas Eve, after my family goes to the midnight service, we come home for réveillion and eat foie gras, escargots, turkey with chestnuts and my grandmother’s bûche de Noël.”
Frohe Weihnachten, from Jonas in Germany
“Advent has always been a big part of my family’s Christmas celebration. There are several types of calendars used to celebrate Advent, but my family uses a wreath made of fir tree branches with 24 bags hanging from it. Each day, we open one of the bags, which are filled with sweets or small gifts.
Leading up to Christmas, many villages have large markets where you can buy food, decorations and gifts. One of the biggest markets is here in Nürnberg.”
Crặciun Fericit, from Andrei in Romania
“Our Christmas celebration begins on the 24th of December with the decorating of the tree. That night Moş Crăciun delivers presents to all the houses.
One of the most important traditions in Romania is carol singing. On Christmas Eve night, children walk from house to house throughout the village, singing carols and performing for the adults of the house. As a reward, they get sweets, fruit, traditional cakes and sometimes even money. On Christmas Day, adults go carol singing day and night.”
Wesołych Świąt, from Edyta in Poland
“Throughout Advent, we try to not have an excess of anything. We give up our favorite foods and drinks. We spend a lot of time cleaning our houses and preparing for Christmas Day.
On Wigilia [the traditional Polish Christmas Eve vigil supper], observed on December 24th, friends and family come together for the main meal. Our tradition establishes that no food is eaten until the first star is seen so children look at the sky to spot the first star. There are 12 dishes to give you good luck for the next 12 months. We always leave one empty place at the table for any unexpected guest.
Only after everyone has finished the meal can the children open gifts. After opening gifts, we go to midnight Mass.”
Buon Natale, from Guido in Italy
“In Italy, our most important Christmas tradition is the nativity. Like most people in Italy, we put our family presepe [a nativity scene or creche] up on December 8th. Naples is the city most famous for making nativity cribs, and there is still a street of nativity makers—the Via San Gregorio Armeno—where you can buy crib decorations and figures.
On Christmas Eve, after midnight Mass, we come home and have panettone, an Italian Christmas cake.”
Closer to home, some Designsensory clients are celebrating the holidays with their own traditions.
“At Sugarlands Distilling Company, we celebrate the holidays with friends and family. We enjoy beautifully unique cocktails, while using our award-winning Sugarlands Shine.”
Antique Piano Shop
“Holidays are always a busy time of year for the Antique Piano Shop, and this year is no exception. We absolutely love this time of year and the joy our pianos can bring to people. There's nothing better than seeing a family gathered around the piano at a holiday party, or hearing the piano play in the background while you enjoy time with those most dear to you. From all of us here at the Antique Piano Shop, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!”
Patricia Nash Designs
"We love the holidays at Patricia Nash Designs more than any other time of year. The holiday shopping season is always chaotic but the spirit of giving and spending time with loved ones is what we take a moment to embrace. We start to see the customers buying handbags for their loved ones instead of themselves, and you can feel the difference that makes in their day. They're putting a lot of thought into giving something special to someone special and that means as much to us as it does to them.
We kick off the holidays and the giving spirit in a big way here—everything from store decorations, to events and online giveaways for our customers that are in the farthest reaches of the country. No corner of the store is left undecorated, and Patricia has made sure to run off any hint of Grinchyness from our offices. Having a holiday spirit isn't an option around here. You couldn't prevent it, even if you tried. Our family is the most important thing to us. So, from ours to yours, have a marvelous and safe holiday. May you travel, celebrate and live well in 2015."
No matter where you are celebrating this year, we hope the holidays bring you close to home and in the company of friends and family. From everyone at Designsensory, we wish you a very happy holiday!