Christmas is when people spend time with their families and have weekends together so they can share those rare family dinners and lose at board games. This is the Christmas feeling; being thankful for your blessings and for the family you have that made your life possible on this earth. With time on your hands and the family close there is a chance to ponder all of this. And it being vacation time, the relieve of work-related stress causes an empty head.

You are not obligated to weather Christmas like this and no one will force you to spend time with your family. You are free to spend Christmas with your friends or with your girlfriend. I am sure many do it this way. Often vacation time comes and goes by very fast and is therefore very treasured. People will want to make the best of it.

Christmastime is also one of the most expensive seasons to book a flight. If you plan on hopping on a plane come December, book in advance. It seems that everyone tries to leave the country during Christmastime. But why is that? Don’t these people have families of their own? No holly, jolly family time for all of us? If this is the case and you are not the only one desperately trying to leave during these dark months, no need to feel weird and have regrets that you are leaving people behind. You are not alone.

Lots of us leave to catch some heat and rays of sunshine. A lot of countries in wintertime are cold and uncomfortable, so people set out for the sun in their tourist destination. But not all do. Others aim for experiences, like the magic of a city like London during Christmastime. Will London be expensive during this time? Definitely. Are there other options than that? Most certainly.

How about Amsterdam? Amsterdam is a romantic, magical city that has many cultural things to offer during Christmastime. During these cold and dark months the city is beautified with wonderful lights everywhere and, if you are up for it, some outdoor ice-skating. So what are nice things to do during Christmastime in Amsterdam? I will offer a few:

Ice-skating at museum square

A bit touristy, the museum square still manages to redefine itself as time moves on. Her charm is growing every year and it seems that every winter this large square, that adjoins all the most interesting museums, gets a little more exciting. More and more people are able to locate the cute Christmas market and the stands that offer tasty, warm food and hot drinks. A decent size ice-skating ring is one of the few and new temptations available, and a very nice one at that. A large pack of onlookers is guaranteed if you set foot in the ring. The museum square is located in the heart of the city, in the museum district. It is a classy section with wide avenues, large houses and an abundance of boutiques catering to every quirky interest. In any case, you will not have to fight for your place within this ice-skating ring and it will be manageable without having to put on many layers of clothes. In general Amsterdam does not get very cold during winter time. You will not need a large coat and warm gloves. So enjoy.

Christmas carols by the new Amsterdam children's choir

The new Amsterdam children’s choir is a choir that has classical music as its forté. It envelops around 300 young and talented singers who are just a step away from being great stars in their field. Or maybe they already are. Who knows really. You will have to hear it with your own ears. To illustrate: At times they have performed for the Dutch king. At the 18th of December the children’s choir will perform 'a ceremony of carols'. This is a piece written by the English composer Benjamin Britten. Along with this piece, there will be sung French and English Christmas songs from the 20th century. The children are assisted by piano, harp and organ. Find them at the Orgelpark on the 18th of December.

Nutcracker on ice

The Nutcracker as a ballet is very old. The piece is handed down from its inception in the year 1892 and was produced by Tchaikovsky. Now they adjusted the play to the ice and its characters the Mice King, Snow Queen and Sugarpie Ferry are all still present. The story is of Clara, who on Christmas night receives a nutcracker doll. When she is sleeping and the clock strikes twelve, her doll comes to life in her dreams. Together these two have many adventures. Beautiful decors, grand projections, flashy costumes and impressive special effects are set to offer a breath taking show. 30 ice-skating champions will perform to the music of Tchaikovsky and give you a truly memorable Christmas experience. On ice from the 16th-18th of December, find the Nutcracker on ice at Amsterdam RAI.