Many people in the Netherlands celebrate Christmas Eve (Kerstavond) by attending a church service and getting together for a family dinner. Unlike in neighboring countries, December 24 is traditionally not a day to exchange gifts.
Is Christmas Eve a Public Holiday?
Christmas Eve is not a public holiday. It falls on Sunday, December 24, 2023 and most businesses follow regular Sunday opening hours in Netherlands.
Celebrate Christmas Eve
Most homes have a Christmas tree with lights and prepare a special dinner. The Christmas meal may include hare, goose, or turkey. Many people eat Christmas stollen, a sweet yeast bread filled with almond paste and raisins.
Traditionally, there are no gifts on December 24 as Sinterklaas brings them on St. Nicholas Eve 19 days earlier. As the bringer of gifts, Sinterklaas is still more popular than Santa who is called Kerstman among children in the Netherlands. However, many Dutch are taking on the traditions of neighboring countries, and exchanging presents is a growing trend. Today, about half the population celebrates Christmas with presents.