Tag Archives: plum pudding

Merry Christmas


Today is Christmas.  I thought it was going to be a lot harder for us than it was, but we all made it through without tears.  My parents are VERY big on tradition and one of our traditions was sitting in the same place every year as we opened gifts.  Mom had her chair and Drew put a sign on it saying, “DO NOT SIT,” reserving it only for her.  In the past, even with her health issues, mom did almost all of the Christmas shopping.  Dad did a great job this year though and there was no shortage of gifts.  The kids had a blast and he put a lot of thought into the gifts he got all of us.

We started the day off as we always do. After opening our own gifts at our own homes, we all headed up to my dad’s.  We brought bagels and my brother Tim brought donuts and coffee.  We kept it as “normal” as possible for everyone.  Dad had ordered ham, turkey and pulled pork from The Honey Baked Ham Company.  My sister and I had prepared the side dishes at home and while we all opened gifts from one another, I got everything heated and prepared for later in the day when my grandma, two aunts and in-laws came.

It was another day spent with family and loved ones.  A really nice Christmas.  We all got what we wanted but most importantly, we were all together.  We kept most of our traditions going.  The plum pudding my class gave me was delicious.  Different than mom’s but still wonderful.  As the years go by, traditions change a bit and new ones are created but it is all good.  Traditions help us create memories. I think they are important to instill in our own children.  Today, I noticed that it was our children were the ones who were trying to keep most tightly to the old rituals.  They were doing it for my mom, and at the same time, I think they were doing it for my dad too.

Thank you to my class

being loved

Today was the last day of school before the holiday break.  It was also Pajama Day.  On this day, we all wear our pajamas to school and we ask that everyone who is able, to donate a new pair of pajamas for a child in need.  This is the fourth Pajama Drive that I have organized and in the four years, we have collected over 1000 pairs of pajamas.  This year, we were able to give away nearly 350 pairs.

At the end of the day, we had a holiday party in my class.  The class was so generous and gave me some very lovely things.  There were several parents at the party helping out, and they gave me a gift from the entire class.  It was such a touching gift, that I cried in front of the class and had to explain to them why people cry even when they are happy!

One of my class parents told me that several of them read my blog.  I knew that a few of them did, but hadn’t realized there were so many! She told me that they knew that this Christmas was going to be a difficult one after the year that our family has been through.  One of the gifts that they presented me with was a charm of an angel’s wing in memory of mom and Francine.  That alone made me emotional, but then, she told me that one of the mom’s made a Plum Pudding for my dad, after hearing that it was going to be the first Christmas without one since my mom made him one every year.  I had written about how I’d need to find a way to make one, and this mom, found a recipe and with the help of her own mom, she made it for my dad.  That’s when I started to cry.  Happy tears, grateful tears, appreciative tears.  My dad was nearly speechless when I told him about it.

The school I teach in is an amazing place, filled with wonderful, compassionate families.  After mom and Francine died, the support and generosity they showed was over and beyond what I could have ever expected.  This year has been no different and I am truly blessed to be a part of the school community.  I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

Mom and Christmas

mom sunshine

My mom loved Christmas.  I mean…she LOVED it!!!!  Christmas carols, buying presents, giving presents, traditional Christmas dinners – even a goose once in awhile because my dad loved it!  She made him a plum pudding every year.  No one else liked it at all.  Only him, but she made it anyway.  This weekend, while we were having dinner together, my sister Kathi found the one from last year in the freezer.  Dad would not let her throw it away.  Maybe he thinks it will defrost and still taste okay this year.  None of us know how to make it so there won’t be one for him this year so perhaps a frozen leftover will have to suffice.

Even as mom got sicker with COPD, and could not do much, she still managed to find gifts for everyone on her Christmas list.  She did a lot of catalog shopping.  We all tried to teach her how to use the internet and order things on line but she was happier talking to someone on the phone.   She probably became friends with all of the sales reps she spoke to.  That was just her way.  She always made sure that there was an even number of gifts under the tree for everyone.  Even as adults!  We always told her to focus on the kids and not worry about us, but of course she didn’t do that.  There was always thought put into each gift, no matter how big or small, it always meant something.

It won’t be the same this year, and all of us are finding ourselves thinking about her a lot right now.  More than usual.  After we went through her jewelery drawers, we decided who would keep certain things.  I found a necklace and earrings that I really liked and my sister took a few things.  My mom and I had always laughed about how different our taste in fashion was, but there were definitely a few things I wanted to keep.  The other stuff – and there was quite a bit, was costume type jewelry, but there were a bunch of watches and a few gold earrings and bracelets that none of us thought we’d ever wear.  A friend of mine is a jeweler and I talked to her and we decided that we would try to sell the gold.  There was not a lot, and we had to go through and figure out what was real and what was not.  I went there yesterday and we went through it with her.  Most of the watches weren’t of much value and there were only a few gold bracelets but there was one watch that was of some value so we decided to go ahead and sell those few things.  The rest of it we will donate.

Today, I got a call from my friend – the watch had been worth much more than we had expected it to be!  I brought the money to my dad and he was shocked!  I told him, it must be mom’s way of still letting us know that she is still a part of Christmas this year!  I told him he should use it for his holiday shopping and that way it would be from mom too.  She would love that!!  A big Merry Christmas from her to all of us.  She must have been grinning from ear to ear as she watched my dad’s face when I gave him the envelope!  I knew she’d find a way to show up this year.  It wouldn’t be Christmas if she didn’t have a part in it!