Xmas around Europe V

Xmas around Europe V

In this time of the year we're eager to know about the traditions families around the world share when they are together at Xmas time. We would like to start a serie of little interviews with people of Europe telling us what they eat, read, sing and share. So, let's start and merry Christmas!



Valentine Raeman


baubles grandmother.JPG

My name is Valentine (33) and I feel honoured to give you a little sneak peek into our christmas routines.

We are a family of four and live in Antwerp (Belgium). We have two kids: Jef (5) and Lola (3). They both have completely different characters but it’s nice to see they get along really well (not always, obviously).

I work at a local centre for culture. Organising (theater) performances and concerts for kids and promoting all this is part of my job. As you can guess, this is certainly not a 9 to 5 job. Almost every day is a different day and that makes it a challenging job, even after 9 years. Being with my family is what I love most, next to experimenting with my camera, staring at beautiful pictures and spending time with my friends.

My boyfriend Bart (35) is about to change work in a few days. He will be working as a technical trainer for Mazda Europe. He likes and knows everything about cars and is mad about aircooled VW’s. He owns a beetle (1974), a VW campervan (1977) and too much seventies chopperbikes.



Xmas Essentials


XMAS book

The favourite book of Jef and Lola is their big book of ‘Jip en Janneke’, a book about two friends (a boy and a girl) and their adventures. There are a few stories for every season of the year. Wintertime is their current favourite!

XMAS song

Mostly I don’t like Christmas-songs. So this is Bart’s favourite: ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!

XMAS ornament

The baubles from my grandmother who passed away 4 years ago. 

XMAS food

No Christmas without ‘kerststronk’. This is a typical flemish dessert made of biscuit, whipped cream (or 'creme-au-beurre') and chocolate. I never managed to make one myself but every bakery in every town sells them. Most of the time the ‘kerststronk’ is decorated with plastic elements like baby Jesus, christmas trees and mushrooms. Very funny!

Our favourite TV-cook made a good recipe for the flemish ‘kerststronk’ if you want to give it a try: https://dagelijksekost.een.be/gerechten/kerstmenu-gemakkelijke-kerstbuche. 

Tradition as a child

We used to spend Christmas eve at my grandparents’ place on the countryside. When we think about those times, we always laugh because most of the times it consists of playing too wild, waiting too long to open our gifts (we had to wait till midnight) and eating too much.

Tradition as a parent

To us, Christmas time means famlilytime. As we had a very busy time at work the past few months, we are looking forward to spend some time together.


We will celebrate Christmas eve at my mothers house. Each year we do a little lottery for the gifts. Everyone buys one gift for one person and we can make a little wishlist. We all add something to the menu and my mother prepares the main course. The evening always ends in watching ‘Home Alone’ on the couch. This is our little tradition!

On Christmas day we do this all over again with the family of Bart. A lot of eating involved..

Few days later Bart, Jef, Lola and myself leave for the seaside to spend some time together and free our minds. It’s the best and I’m counting days till then.


Xmas around Europe VI

Xmas around Europe VI

Xmas around Europe IV

Xmas around Europe IV