Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something Festive This Way Comes (with apologies to William Shakespeare)

Today I broke through to Christmas! It's official. And I have the chocolate letters to prove it.

This past weekend I made up an Excel spreadsheet with a page each for the groups of people in the various different parts of my life for whom I buy the letters, and today on my lunch break, I went to Dutch Treats in Bradford, and armed with organization, quickly gathered 105 of them.

The owners of the store, Cor and Louise DenBleker, packed all the letters into two large cardboard boxes and then took my photo for their bulletin board. In Bradford, so far, I reign unchallenged as the Queen of Chocolate Letters.

Since I am half Dutch and half English, I celebrate both cultures to the max, every chance I get. Just when I thought things could not get much better, having all of those chocolate letters and all, Louise pointed out that they have branched out to also include English treats. There on the shelf, right next to the Wilhelmina Peppermints, Zoute Drop and Haagse Hopjes, sat Fry's Turkish Delight, Cadbury Flakes, and Walnut Whips. Oh, my cup runneth over! They even have cans of English Heinz Baked Beans, which taste totally different to North American baked beans. I left with "just" my letters though, and a mental note to return soon.

Back in the office my priority was the big Christmas party to be organized. From mid November on people have been asking, very politely, but with a gleam of desperation in their eyes, "Belinda, do we have a date for the Christmas party yet?" Well, it is now happening! I have connected with the caterer and booked a date and tomorrow just have to confirm that it works for the church where we usually have the party.

In spite of it always coming together at the very last minute, this is the absolute best party of the entire year and I always think that we should sell tickets to it, because nothing brings Christmas to my heart like this party for 100 or so people with disabilities and their support staff. To say it is organized is really to use the word loosely. It is chaotic joy!

So, my house is not decorated, although I do hope that comes about very soon, even if it is a modest attempt, but this Sunday is the start of Advent, Christmas has come to my heart and I am in celebration mode. What a difference a day can make.

1 John 4:9-10 (Amplified Bible)
9In this the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him.
10In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins


Susan said...

I beat you to it! I bought a "B" last week. :) Well, actually, I bought two B's (one for "Belinda" and the other for "Burston", of course), but I ate one. So I owe you... :)

Belinda said...

Hey! An "S" ate a "B?" I don't know! Well, truth be told, I have succumbed to similar temptations, even to eating someone elses chocolate bunny!

Marilyn said...

Wow! How do I get to that store? :-)

Belinda said...


Angcat said...

This was delicious.
I love the part about the 105 letters and you being the Queen of Chocolate letters.
I also loved Susan's comment that she bought two B's but ate one...I roared. That is so funny.

I think the store owners in Bradford know when they've hit on a good thing, and you're it. Do they know you have half English blood? There may have been a point to their new stock of English treats.

night owl said...

Whoa, 105 chocolates?!? Double whoa... I've never heard of any of those English treats... :) They sound so much better than KitKats and Snickers and Mars and the regular variety of "Halloween candy" that is usually found in North American stores.
I've seen Chocolate Letters before though, but haven't tried one... What's so good about a chocolate shaped like a letter? It sounds amazing the way you speak of it... but how? :S :) hehehe :)
Such a cheery post, Belinda. :) And of course EVERYONE wants to come to your Christmas party, because what could be better than Christmas with Belinda? :)
Btw chaotic JOY can't be bad at all. It sounds exciting actually. :)
Love, Night Owl
P.S. It is UNSPEAKABLE that you ate another's chocolate bunny! *shocked look* :) :) :) My sister won a gigantic Easter bunny last Easter which was the size of herself, and half of it is still in the freezer... So I guess it can be considered a half-Christmas-snow-bunny now... (Anyway, there is no shortage of chocolate bunny at my place now.) :)

Susan said...

Um, Belinda, it wasn't you that ate the bunny, was it?

Belinda said...

Dear Susan, Don't you remember that after I made poor Frances feel so guilty for eating the Lindt chocolate bunny that I gave Summer, God's heavy hand was on me all through that cell group meeting until I confessed that I too, was a bunny eater!

Belinda said...

Night Owl, you made my day! The good thing about chocolate letters? Well let me see...

1) It is tradition for Dutch people to give these at Christmas to all and sundry. I love upholdig traditions and rituals.
2)They are chocolate--need I say more?
3)The fact that they are given in the initial of the gift receiver (unless the giver eats them before they get there) means that the giver thinks of the person with fondness and cares enough to think of them by their own given name.

Marilyn said...

I got quite an education today, reading this blog and the comments. I never heard of the chocolate letter tradition before this!

Susan said...

Really? You?? I thought, "I'm a bunny eater too," was just your cute way of saying that you were a sinner, too and had no right to judge. I didn't know you had actually, literally eaten someone else's chocolate bunny! Belinda! That's so cool! (We're in the same club! Ransomed bunny-eaters!)

Belinda said...

Yes, really, me. You must know by now how literal I am! If I say I ate a bunny, I ate a bunny! :)