Impressions from November & December 2017 : a personal project

Jan 21, 2018

I’m sharing some of our Christmas traditions for this round of Impressions. We blend traditions from the UK (where i’m from), Germany (where my husband is from), and The Netherlands (because our children are growing up here).

Here’s a glimpse of our December moments..

[1] Decorating the Christmas Tree
We bought our Christmas Tree the weekend before Pakjesavond and the girls helped to decorate. Lea (wearing her Pieten hat) was placing all the decorations in clusters and Rebekka (wearing reindeer antlers) was immediately re-distributing them to better places! So funny to watch!

[2] Pakjesavond, 5 December
The festive season starts with the arrival of Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) mid-November. In the weeks leading up to Pakjesavond (presents’ evening), the girls were drawing pictures for Sinterklaas and leaving them in their shoes by the fireplace with a carrot for his horse. Then they’d sing ‘Sinterklaas kapoentje’ up the chimney (a song asking for ‘schoencadeautjes’ – a small surprise to be left in their shoes). Some nights, we could even hear Rebekka singing it when she was in bed! Occasionally, they’d find a little surprise waiting for them in the morning.

When Pakjesavond finally came around, they were very excited! We were all together in the living room when the doorbell rang. We opened the door to find a sack of presents waiting outside; a special delivery from Sinterklaas and his Pieten! The girls were so excited and shouted into the street: “Dank je wel!” (thank you). The sack was then rushed into the living room to squeals of “Presents!” from Lea! :-)

[3] Our Artist at work
Amongst the Sinterklaas gifts was a set of make your own baubles, so naturally Rebekka got to work straight away!

[4] Christmas Eve
After it’s introduction last year, we decorated a gingerbread house again on Christmas Eve. It followed the familiar pattern of stick one sweet, eat a handful!! Those blue M&Ms are a big tell tale sign.. not mentioning any names.. *cough*.. Lea..! ;-)

[5] Weihnachten (Christmas Eve)
After dinner on Christmas Eve, we celebrate Weihnachten and open presents that were sent from our German relatives. The excitement really begins and the girls can’t wait for the morning which will bring more presents from Father Christmas!

[6] Christmas Morning
The girls both got new scooters for Christmas – we’d tried to hide them in amongst the other presents, but oh no.. somehow they knew.. and those were the ones they both opened first!! :-)

[7] Racing around the Christmas Tree!
The energy of these two (and especially the littlest!) There’s no keeping them still when there are presents to open! :-) :-) 

I also want to make a note here that after bedtime, little miss Lea was much too excited about all the new presents to go to sleep! She was constantly out of bed and making her way downstairs to play. Eventually we gave up taking her back to bed and let her stay up. We couldn’t help but smile as she pranced around the living room with a hula hoop, singing! Don’t know where she got the energy from!! She eventually snuggled into me on the sofa and when it was time for us all to go to bed, she swung her arm as she said “Let’s go!” – so cute!!

[8] The Family-Carstens Christmas Selfie
The last few years we’ve been taking a family selfie on Christmas Day. Rebekka was missing her top two front teeth this Christmas – you can just about see the gap! One big tooth is quickly making it’s way down at the moment and the next one can’t be far off! She’s waiting for a new tooth to come through at the bottom too.

Hope your Christmas was a merry one. Wishing you and your families all the best for 2018!

Impressions‘ is a creative project by an eclectic group of female photographers from around the globe. We aim to share the inspiration behind what we do through our bi-monthly posts.

Every other month, we will be sharing 8 images that tell the story of what inspired us in the previous weeks: our families, nature, weather, or maybe even work itself! We are free to explore the meaning of ‘impressions’, and it is likely to change month to month.

Say hello in the comments below and then hop on over to see what Kim Rogers of Brink Street Photography in Denver Colorado is sharing this month :-) I hope you enjoy all our posts!

With love,
~ Natalie


  1. Susanne Ashby

    I always adore seeing your Christmas blog post! Your traditions are so fun and it fascinates me to see how people celebrate Christmas around the world!

    • Natalie

      Thank you Susanne, me too! I love seeing how others celebrate :-)

  2. Kim

    I always, always look forward to your posts Natalie. I can’t believe how big the girls are.

    • Natalie

      <3 <3 <3 I always look forward to yours too!!



  1. Impressions from December: A personal project Sacramento wedding photographer » Susanne Ashby Photography - […] continue through the circle and see what Natalie Carstens is sharing this month. Then continue clicking through the circle till you…

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