‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ and not just for Dutch households. Many expats in the Eindhoven region also celebrate Christmas. Though the celebration is by and large the same, there are differences. “When we came here, it was the first time we saw Christmas trees without Santa Claus.”
A Christmas tree in the room, delicious food on the table and family and friends over. For Sarah Kim from South Korea and Meshach Abraham and Delphin Mary from India, December is all about Christmas. The expats have lived in the region for a long time, but the love for the party comes from their home country. “There are a lot of Christians in Korea, so Christmas is a big thing there,” Sarah Kim explains. Meshach and Delphin also celebrated Christmas in India. And that was different than in the Netherlands. “A priest came to our house and prayed for us.”
Where is Santa Claus?
It took some getting used to when they moved to the Netherlands. “We saw Christmas trees without Santa Claus. My son shouted, ‘Where is Santa!’ That was very funny because for the children Santa Claus is a symbol of gifts,” says Sarah with a laugh. Delphin was also surprised. “In India, Santa Claus hands out cakes and chocolates.”
Nowadays, the trio accept that they do have a taste of Christmas in the Netherlands. “We go to church and buy a lot of cakes and share them with family members and people from church,” explains Delphin. At home, they celebrate Christmas with family and friends and also light fireworks.
According to Sarah, it is not only a fun party but also a good way to motivate children in education. “The Koreans are very focused on education. So we often say to children: ‘If you get a good grade, you will get a big present from Santa, but if you don’t do well, we will see about it’.”