We had our annual Christmas party with my mom's family. It was a typical gathering - tons of food, lots of visiting, and hordes of kids running around. Just like it has been every Christmas of my memory!
My great-grandparents and their children left Holland almost 100 years ago and went first to Canada and then to Kansas. When they immigrated, they chose to completely assimilate to America. They gave up their language, their traditions, their culture. In many ways, this makes me sad. I wish they had kept part of their Dutch life. But they did keep one tradition. Every Christmas, they made oleykoek, a kind of fried dough with raisins and apples. And I am so glad that this one link to Holland is still here, because oleykoek is delicious!
My aunt always makes the dough ahead of time. Once the crowd arrives, she starts frying.
The other Christmas tradition in my mother's family is that Santa visits during the big clan gathering. Katherine insists that she knows this particular Santa is not real, but she was more than willing to sit on his knee.