Christmas in Belgium
Belgium might be a small country but there are many things to do during the end of the year!
The month of December starts off with the Saint-Nicolas holiday (on the 6th), which is not part of Christmas but is part of the festivities of the end of the year. Originally, it is a religious holiday and children usually receive gifts, chocolates, spéculoos (traditional Belgian biscuits) or money if they have been good during the year.
When it comes to Christmas specifically, Belgium will not disappoint you. Every major city of the country organizes a Christmas market that usually starts at the end of November and lasts until the beginning of January. Brussels holds the biggest one with 200 chalets and turns one of its major squares into a winter wonderland with lots of new and seasonal food and drinks to try, fair attractions and games, beautiful lights, an ice skating rink and handcrafted clothes and Christmas decorations/gifts you can buy.
The city of Brussels also organizes a sound and light show on the main square throughout the month of the December and every night, the buildings are covered with dazzling lights moving with the music.
As for the food, Belgians usually have meat or seafood as the main dish for Christmas. In my family, we usually have oysters as a starter and a roasted chicken as the main dish. But the desserts are the most important part! The traditional Christmas dessert in Belgium is called bûche de Noël, it is a cake shaped like a log of wood which is covered with chocolate most of the time but can also be covered with homemade whipped cream, red fruit coulis or anything you like.
When do not have any rules when it comes to opening the presents. Most families gather on the night of the 24th to have the Christmas dinner and open their gifts, but some others open them the morning of the 25th.