Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all. Christmas time is full of traditions in the Belnap family. Here is a snippet of what I do this time of year.

1). Baking Day. This takes place a day or two before Christmas Eve. All the girls in our extended family get together and bake. All day. Our goal? Saffron Rolls!!! Saffron rolls are a traditional Swedish type of cinnamon roll that my great-grandmother brought with her from the motherland. Saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world so we only make them once a year and every batch must go off without a hitch. Every year we make about 300 of these delectable rolls and I believe about 1/4 of them end up in my stomach. And props to my mom because we tease her about not being Swedish but she makes the meanest Saffron roll in town.
Oh so yummy, fresh out of the oven Saffron rolls

Grammy rolling out the dough, 2009

2). Christmas Eve: This is huge! I mean this is the biggest and most important day of the entire year in my family. This is the kind of tradition Tevye was singing about! On Christmas Eve we enjoy a fanciful Swedish Smorgasbord. If you can't tell yet, our Swedish roots really take over at Christmas. The table is filled with delicious food and decorated to the nines. The food is a combo of American, English (from Grammy), Swiss (from Uncle Jared), and Swedish (from Grandpa). Grandpa is usually the only one to really delve into the traditional foods like Lutfisk (gross fish). We start off the evening by a family dance to a Swedish song, Julpotpourri Over Langdanser - we call it the Nullie Ullie Anne. Grandpa always leads the dance. We go all over the house, circling a few times. Its my all time favorite part about Christmas Eve. After dancing we eat to our hearts desire. All the food that took days to prepare is gone in a matter of moments. Yum. After dinner we have a program led by Grammy and Grandpa. Then each of their children does a talent/number/song/etc. This little act can be serious or funny but mostly ends up being funny. Usually we have Jared yodel, Rose pretends to be sick but is still forced to sing "Here We Come a Wassailing" with Grammy, and then some caroling all around. When Grandpa Bennett was still alive he would always singe the 12 Days of Christmas because he brought that song to the U.S. Then we would exchange gifts and occasionally play the money game.

Smorgasbord table

English Trifle

Dancing the Nullie Ullie Anne

Dancing to start off the night

After attempting the Nullie Ullie Anne during a Christmas in Washington

Christmas Tree at Grammy's

Dressing baby Bennett up in St. Lucia's headdress

3. Christmas Day: Momma makes caramel-pull-aparts for breakfast because by this point we still haven't eaten enough. But really, this day isn't anything too special. With all the hoopla of Christmas Eve over, it's kind of depressing. Because I grew up on a compound we just visited the other cousins' houses and hung out. In the evening we go to a family movie. This year we had 23 of us at "True Grit."
Grandpa dressing up as Santa and visiting the houses

Babies on Christmas morning in Washington

President dressed up as Santa for a mission Christmas

Christmas PJ's with Santa/Grandpa

Christmas morning 2002, yes that was Joshie's hair at the time

4. Skiing. The Balmers condo at Deer Valley become the stomping grounds for the week after Christmas. We spend it skiing out hearts out. New Year's Eve is all about the Fondue and Roclet, Martineli's, skiing, sledding, and games galore.

Heading out for a Deer Valley day with cousins

Deer Valley with Jaim-ba

DV with the Swiss girls and dad passing out tickets as usual - none of us had ever done the ski ticket by ourselves until dad left us high and dry for the mission