We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. We incorporate Danish Christmas traditions into our evening. Risalamande is served for dessert, and before opening presents, we link hands and dance around the Christmas tree. Each person has a chance to pick a holiday song for the group to sing (we’re up to 18 people now!). The cousins were bummed not to have snow for sledding this year, but we made up for it by taking a walk along the creek. It was nice to put the food intake on hold and get a little fresh air and exercise.
My grandma has started a great new tradition with the older grandchildren. As a part of our gift, she gives each grandchild an envelop with cash in it. We all select a portion of our gift to donate to ELCA Good Gifts. We pool our money together and then my grandma generously doubles our contribution. This year, we put our money towards chicks, mosquito nets, a sheep, water purification tablets and food for a refugee family. I love watching my younger cousins discuss why they think a certain gift is important. Once we all agree, we present our decision to the adults. I am appreciative of my grandma for teaching my cousins and I the importance of helping others and giving us the opportunity to give back.
The hunt for the almond in the risalamande (Danish rice pudding)! Everyone seems to have their own strategy for dishing up a winning scoop of the traditional dessert. My favorite part is watching everyone guess who is hiding the winning almond in their mouth. The people have spoken, best batch of kolache to come out of the Donchetz household!