Family feuds are heating up again, people are desperately working through their last days of the working schedule and corporate commercials are everywhere. It can only mean one thing: Christmas is right around the corner! And if something is right up there besides good old fashioned overeating and hoping for a white Christmas that never ever comes it’s the headache that is Christmas gift shopping. But we here at DutchReview are not going to grinch up that, instead we’re helping you out with three thoughtful Christmas gift suggestions for you foreigners living in the Netherlands.
A Jazzy night out
After 15 years of torture by Mariah Carey and George Micheal now I mostly pop in ol’blue eyes his Christmas cd. So now I associate Christmas with swell, jazzy and tasteful music.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually go to a decent jazz club, enjoy some great live music while having a fancy diner? Too bad that’s only an option in London or New York right? WRONG! Right here in Amsterdam there’s the North Sea Jazz Club. Just like the North Sea Jazz Festival, the club presents a wide variety of jazz, funk, soul and world music. Most of the shows can also be enjoyed with a nice three course-diner.
Visit their website for more info and the program. And for all you people who are fearing to spend Christmas alone and sober, they’ve got a few shows going with Christmas itself as well – with the Frank McComb trio coming in! (That’s Buckshot Lefonque for all you people remembering RnB from the 90’s).
The Gift of the Dutch language
Most no-speakers are facing a dilemma. Really integrating and enjoying the Netherlands for a long time is quite difficult without no knowledge of Dutch whatsoever. But just spending a lot of money to be seated in a grey classroom and only learning ‘werkwoordvormen’ is also not really an entertaining prospect. Enter InDutch
Sessions with InDutch tutors always begin (and often end) in a bar. Clients are free to decide on what they want to work on. Whether it’s basic conversation, documents from work, grammar rules, formal telephone calls, or just chit-chat about last weekend: the strategy of InDutch allows you to focus your time and energy where it is needed. That’s why these sessions are always suited to the needs of the student, you set your goal, flexible time and location. They’ve also got a good deal of gift certificates, so that for one is a useful and original present for those people around who want to learn Dutch.
Go to a Christmas market
Just like our friendly neighbor to the east the Christmas market is also becoming increasingly popular in the Netherlands. And although very cliched a visit to one of these markets is also just the thing you want to give your friend who is furiously looking for the Christmas atmosphere in a country where the current temperature is now 15 degrees (Celsius that is, nobody understands Fahrenheit America).
This lovely picture is of Leiden’s floating Christmas market. Right where they normally set up shop for the Saturday market it is now home to one of the loveliest Christmas markets of the Netherlands. Go there for some Christmas shopping, Ice-skating in front of the Cityhall and top it off with a hot coco and some delicious treats at ‘Aan de Rijn’. Hurry up though! It’s only there until Sunday evening.
If you’ve got some good gift suggestions (we men are always struggling), feel free to share them in the comments!