Christmas, Culture, Dutch, Holidays/ Celebrations

Getting into the Christmas Spirit: Free Entertainment

Waterways, lights and houses – all to
get you in the mood for the festive season
(c) Amanda van Mulligen

If you go down to your local Dutch garden centre today the chances are that the attempts to get customers into the Christmas spirit are in full swing. They call it their Kerstshow. The displays of Christmas villages in my local Intratuin are pretty awesome and what’s even more impressive is the fact that the festive displays keep my children entertained for an afternoon at a time – and it costs nothing for looking. Gratis. Yep, that’s free entertainment!

My kids are in awe of the trains chuffing their way around the towns full of twinkling Christmas lights, grazing animals, playing children and snowy trees.

What’s more is that the Intratuin encourages you to arrange your children in front of some of the displays to take a photo yourself which you can turn in to a personalised Christmas card – something I notice is getting more and more popular in the Netherlands. Three little boys in one family we saw were getting up close and personal with some singing reindeer for a photo – climbing into the display for that special festive pose. Keep your eyes on that that letter box Oma!

The festive scenes which captivate children – particularly the boys if there’s a train involved
(c) The Writing Well
Of course the idea is that you’re so impressed with what you see that you go home with arms full of  illuminated houses, singing Santas and the materials to make your own Swiss ski slopes right there in your front room. But you don’t have to. You can just look. 

“Can we do this at home mama?” “Erm, no…. we’ll come here weekly instead until
Christmas!”
(c) The Writing Well
I honestly cannot remember these kind of displays at Christmas growing up in England. 
Has it changed? Have garden centres started cashing in on this kind of Christmas activity in Britain? Where can you go in your host country to get into the Christmas spirit already? 
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