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12 Things...

... that I love about family Christmas in Amsterdam.

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  1. My mum’s bread sauce. Culinary event of the year. (In fact all of these could be food-related, because we all know that gluttony is the true meaning of Christmas.)
  2. Feeling hip and young and one of the kids through internet in-jokes with my teenage cousin.
  3. The Dutch style of leaving their living room curtains open to the world at large, creating evening streets lined with cosy glimpses of family life and beautiful interior design.
  4. Dutch style generally; women in enormous scarves cycling over bridges and bald men in round glasses walking dogs.
  5. Terrible dancing in the kitchen to everything from Abba to BB King.
  6. Aggressive and competitive word games with my aggressive and competitive family.
  7. Aggressive and competitive participation in celebrity University Challenge with my aggressive and competitive family.
  8. My mum and her sisters collapsing into unanimous incomprehensible hysteria - this year over a particularly un-PC mime of Angela Merkel during Round 3 of the hat game.
  9. Everyone rallying forces to demolish three bottles of Baileys in three days.
  10. Schokomelk with extra whipped cream and a view over the canal.
  11. Chaotic group Skype sessions to cousins 11 hours and two seasons away.
  12. A million festive tea light holders and a million dancing shadows.