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Today I’ve got Mannheim Steamroller playing and I’m wrapping some presents to send off later. I love Christmastime, and it’s even better in Europe. Festive markets and stalls have been popping up all over the city, and carts selling olliebollen are everywhere. The streets are hung with lights, which is handy when it starts to get dark around 4pm.

Yesterday was Sinterklaas here in the Netherlands, the time of the month when kids put out their shoes to get presents, and families exchange gifts and silly poems. We got chocolate letters for the occasion, but we’re holding out the real celebrations until Christmas. It just feels right!

Here are a few wintery photos I’ve taken around the city.

So far it’s cold and rainy, with just enough hail to be annoying. I’m wishing for a white Christmas.