The big gathering on my Mom's side of the family is the Hanke Christmas Extravaganza. It's usually held on Christmas Day at my great-aunt and -uncle's place. Luckily enough, they have enough room in their small house to hold between thirty and forty people, because that's how many of us normally show up for the Extravaganza. It's a big party!
Our Extravaganza always starts off with a little reading from the Bible. My great-uncle has selected some passages from the Gospels that relate the events of Jesus' nativity, and we read these every year. Since it's divided into about a dozen parts, most of the kids get to take a turn reading a portion. Even the little guys, like Fro and Fuzz, can read a part if they want to. This leads to some interesting pronunciations of words like "Magi" and "Judea," but, hey! We all know what they're talking about so it's all good.
After the Scripture reading, we sing some Christmas carols. Dad brings out his guitar, we pass around songbooks, and sing our way through a dozen Christmas carols.
|Somehow I don't think Skinny is singing very tunefully just now.|
I won't say we're top-notch singers, but in my completely unbiased opinion we're not that bad. And what we lack in talent, we definitely make up for in sheer volume. We've been told we can be heard from the street outside. Somehow, that doesn't surprise me at all.
But a family gathering just isn't complete without food. That's what comes after we finish singing. We don't sit down for a big meal at this Christmas party. Instead, everyone brings a little something to help fill the table, and we spend the rest of the evening snacking.
|We got a few more things after this, but by then it was too late to get a picture.|
Exactly like that, actually.
As you can see from the picture above, we have a whole sampling of different snacky foods at the Hanke Christmas Extravaganza. The menu varies from year to year, but these are some of the things we had this year—the ones I can remember, at least.
- Crackers and dip
- Chips and dip
- Veggies and dip
- Caramel corn
- Peanut brittle
- Pretzels and almond bark
- Chex mix
- More pretzels and almond bark
- About seven different kinds of cookies
- Even more pretzels and almond bark. You can never have enough pretzels and almond bark, right?
- Meatballs. Like, five gallons of meatballs. It's rumored that there were some cocktail wieners, too, but those didn't make it past the first handful of kids.
|I'm pretty sure this poor, starving child didn't get nearly enough|
meatballs. Good thing he knows how to fend for himself.
|I'm pretty sure he got enough to eat.|
But it was a really good evening. Everyone was enjoying themselves and we got to catch up with people we hadn't seen since last year. That's why I enjoy going to the Hanke Christmas Extravaganza so much. My extended family always manages to have a good time when we're together, and that makes everything we do much more fun.
Happy Holidays, everyone!