Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Party #1

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.
After they are cooked, the oleykoek goes in a paper bag for a powdered sugar dusting.
This crowd goes through a LOT of oleykoek!
This one dish has become our family's signature, our favorite treat.  And it is impossible to eat an oleykoek without making a mess!
On oleykoek night, everyone is proud to be a little bit Dutch.

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.
Rachel realized that she would get more attention by refusing to go near Santa than she would by cooperating.  So she hid in the back corner.  Until the presents appeared, that is.  Then she knew she'd better get close!
Santa brought Kate some sketchbooks and art supplies.
Rachel received a book about building "fairy houses" and a bunch of tiny toy fairies.
She begged Robie to read to her.
It was a good evening, full of family and tradition.  Rachel fell asleep on the way home and no one has to get up early tomorrow because Christmas Break has officially begun!

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