PEACE ON EARTH
Written by Bert Plomp
Bert Plomp takes the reader on a nostalgic journey through his memories of Christmas and New Year in “Peace on Earth.” With a warm narrative style, he describes his youthful experiences and traditions during the holidays. The story begins with an atmospheric depiction of Plomp’s current Christmas, framed by an idyllic scene in the mountains of Dingle. The description of the surroundings, the wood stove, Celtic Christmas music, and the wild water sets the tone for the nostalgia that follows.
Plomp shares his memories of Christmas in the fifties and sixties, a time when gifts were not taken for granted, and the birth of the child was considered the ultimate gift. The atmosphere of the shopping square with the enormous Christmas tree and the cheerful mood brought by the Christmas lights is vividly described. The story takes a personal turn as Plomp shares his experiences at school, where Christmas decorations were exhibited, and hot chocolate was shared. His own contribution to the Christmas celebration, the play “The Lord is my Shepherd,” adds a humorous touch.
The description of Christmas at home is touching and vivid. Plomp shares his traditions, such as eating Christmas stollen and listening to Christmas music from the Salvation Army. Christmas night concludes with a peaceful and contented feeling. A notable element in the story is the unexpected disruption of Christmas Eve by watching the ‘Sjef van Oekel’ Christmas special, leading to a comical clash of generations and expectations.
After Christmas, there is an engaging description of the Christmas tree hunt and the battle between boys from different neighborhoods to collect discarded trees. This leads to a lively narrative of a true ‘Christmas tree war’ and the subsequent Christmas tree burning.
The story concludes with the approach to New Year’s Eve, where fireworks, oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts), and apple turnovers take center stage. Plomp shares his memories of setting off fireworks and collecting firework remnants on New Year’s Day.
“Peace on Earth” is a warm and nostalgic reflection on the holidays, infused with the charm of bygone times. Bert Plomp skillfully transports the reader to a world where simple joy and traditions take center stage.