Our Christmas started late, embarrassingly late, so late that we had to really focus on being ready for the Christmas party at 2pm. Bones and I went for a quick run and then I immediately started preparing our two bring-along dishes. The first dish was “typical me”- a buckwheat, tomato, onion and avocado salad. Burke was such a negative Nancy about it (I make him eat buckwheat since it’s so healthy, but he complains that its bitter), but he admit to liking it in the end. The other dish was “typical American”- green been casserole. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! Not when you have to make every single ingredient from scratch. We made everything from the mushroom, to the “cream of,” and even the french fried onions. I try to avoid fried things at all costs, but lets be serious, it is essential to getting the experience of an American green bean casserole, so I manned up and fried some buttermilked and floured onions.

Gingerbread decorations

In attendance at our Christmas fiesta was the host family, a Swedish/Dutch combo and some Romanian friends and their family. We learned some traditions and traditional food. From Sweden there were swedish meatballs and Jansson’s Temptation, a potato dish layered with cheese and anchovies. Ingela also made sweet potatoes because she “heard Americans like those.” We sure did. From the Dutch side was thinnly sliced raw salmon, and from the Romanina side was another type of fish. There were other cultural meat dishes but I didn’t pay much attention to those. Despite the supply of meat, there were ample vegetarian dishes and I was thrilled to eat such a big, yet healthy meal. Burke said it was the best holiday meal he’s had since being a vegetarian. He represented the U.S. well with his HEAPING plate, and of course a plate of seconds.

We haven't started eating it yet, but I love the smell that diffuses through the kitchen!

UPDATE: Bones the dog we are watching for a few weeks ate the entire house sans the roof. Yuck Bones, yuck.

We played a few games and then it was time for Swedish Fika. It is a coffee break starting with a cinnamon roll, followed by 7 (seven!) types of cookies, and then finishing off with cake. Later we had a small gift exchange, Burke and I received Carcassonne and have already played it many times, and we gave everyone US-imported candy canes.

Fika leftovers!

Fika leftovers that came home with us:)

Ad gave a mini Christmas sermon, my favorite part was when he explained how there can be a strangeness around the concept of being home for the holidays as a missionary. He said that we feel most at home when we are close to our origins, as in, doing what we were created to do.

At the end of the night, Ingela gave us a gingerbread house and gingerbread christmas decorations to take home. Since then, we’ve been waiting for the Slovak Pošta to stop holding our packages hostage, enjoying our new board game, and sleeping in.

Vesele Vianoce!