Saturday, October 11, 2008

Leif & Nikko - First Christmas Eve Married - December 24, 1995

This photo was taken at my mother's house (Leif's grandmother, Marion S. Kundiger) on Pottawatomie Street in Manhattan, Kansas. In those days, when my brother, Donovan, and his family were living in the area, Mom would have large family gatherings at her house for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, and also birthday dinners for all those having a birthday in a particular month. We all looked forward to those events, and usually there were 13-16 people there. The Christmas of 1995 there were even more. My sister, Sherie, and her family came all the way from Michigan, and Donovan was engaged at that time and had his finance and her children there, too. It was quite a crowd.

And, of course, Leif and Nikko were there, for their first Christmas as a married couple. They were cute, playful and affectionate.

Our family has a tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve with a big dinner and opening presents. Our parents wanted us to know where our presents came from, so Santa didn't bring them. "Santa" did come and bring a few small things, like a tangerine and nuts, a toothbrush and a new pair of socks, in our stockings, but the "real" presents were from our parents and other family members. Peter W. and I continued these traditions with our own family.

Mom also waited until the afternoon of December 24th to put up her Christmas tree, a custom common in Germany and perhaps Norway. The tree was always new, magical and special for the celebration that night. Until recent years, the tree was always a real one.

And, we had our Norwegian specialties, without which it just wouldn't have been Christmas. Mom made Julekage, a Norwegian Christmas bread, which made the house smell wonderful, and cookies like Berliner Kranse.

Leif loved all those traditions, especially the Berliner Kranse.

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