News - December 15, 2011

What sort of Christmas are you dreaming of?

Christmas. Presents, candles, seasonal fare, family - and if dreams come true, snow. But Christmas can also be a time of reflection and nostalgia. What sort of Christmas are Resource readers dreaming of? Will they spend the festive season curled up with a book, visiting family, at church or... in the lab?

Bassecouf (former university admin building) last Monday.
Léon Westerd,
in charge of insect breeding at Entomology

‘On Boxing Day I work at the lab. I have to look after the insects, because they need food every day. The malaria mosquitoes are the most labour-intensive. I have to feed the adult females with blood; otherwise they don't lay any eggs. That takes two hours. Then you have to collect the pupae, otherwise you'll have mosquitoes flying all over the place. I don't mind working on Boxing Day; it's more important to me to have New Year's Day off. You have to start feeding the mosquitoes by ten o'clock in the morning, and at that time I've only just gone to bed!'
Bonnie van Dongen,
BSc student of Health and Society

‘I work at a butcher's. Because everyone shops for Christmas, the days before Christmas are always terribly busy. So on Christmas Eve, after all that hard work, I will probably go to bed early. Although I might go to church first. On Christmas Day we cook and eat together, the whole family. This year, instead of giving presents at Sinterklaas, we are putting presents under the Christmas tree. We'll also visit my grandpa at Christmas. Other members of the family will be there too.'
Nomie Butt,
student of Fairtrade studies at Van Hall Larenstein

‘Actually, my family is spread out all over the world. We don't really celebrate Christmas ourselves, but we do get together in that period. Mainly because it is easy, because everyone has those days off and because there is a nice atmosphere around Christmas. This year over Christmas we will probably get together in London because my mother is there then. We'll all go out for a nice meal and just have fun together. Then I get that nice ‘cosy at home' feeling again.'
Johan Verbon,
chef at the Restaurant of the Future

My Christmas feeling? I'm about as romantic as a door. Candlelight, obligations, smart clothes - I can't stand all that. But I do like food. Christmas isn't Christmas for me without kruidbroodjes. These are soft white bread rolls with mixed spice and candied peel, and they are traditionally eaten in Rotterdam on Christmas Eve. The mixed spice is a mixture of various spices including aniseed and sandalwood. When we eat together on Christmas Eve we have to have those rolls on the table, with lashings of real butter on them. I always do my best to cook something special for Christmas. This year it's going to be stuffed breast of veal with chestnut puree.'
Mirjam Dijksterhuis
BSc student of Biology

‘I celebrate Christmas with my family, especially mu parents, my sister and my grandma. On Christmas Eve we go to church and then we eat around the raclette set. On Christmas Day we go to church again and on Boxing Day we have a five course dinner with the family. I love Christmas, and the Christmas tree and all the decorations add to the atmosphere. What I like best of all are all the traditional customs such as the Christmas service at Church. I really enjoy the organ music that is played at that time.'
Jade Joubert,
MSc student of Animal Sciences

‘I come from France, so food is an important part of Christmas for us. We get together as a family and my mother cooks for us all. She makes all kinds of special dishes which we often only eat at Christmas. One of the things my mother is going to cook this year is lamb. As dessert we always have many different types of cakes and pastries. And of course we don't eat the whole time; we also exchange gifts.'

Alicja Warda
PhD, Food Microbiology

‘In Poland Christmas is a special time and I am already looking forward to it. It begins on 24 December. In the morning we put up the Christmas tree and in the evening the whole family gets together. Then we wish each other luck in the New Year and we hand out oplatek (a Christmas wafers). Christmas dinner begins when the first star comes out in the sky. The dinner consists of twelve courses and you have to taste them all. Because the 24th is a fasting day, we mainly eat fish. Meanwhile, Father Christmas puts the presents under the tree and we open them after dinner. And after that we go to church.'
Marco Bosmans
Team chair, Forensic Sciences at Van Hall Larenstein

‘I have a little boy of 14 months. So I'll spend most of Christmas running after him and tidying up his mess. Last year he hardly noticed the festivities, but now he starts to get the idea. Wrapping up presents, setting up the Christmas tree. Specially for him we've bought plastic baubles and they are now bouncing all around the house. I would love a bit of a rest over Christmas, but as well as my job at Van Hall Larenstein I have my own company, a private forensic bureau. Appointments, reporting... all that just carries on during the Christmas holiday. My diary is already filling up'