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truly special gifts. . .

Jennifer Hogan
4 months ago

It seems that with the commercialization of Christmas gifts have become less special. Buy the family new iPhones, get the latest gadget or toy.

When I was growing up my mom baked for weeks before Christmas, making all kinds of cookies and pies and candies, but her true specialties were her filled pastries. . . apricot crescents, nut roll, poppy seed role and prune rolls (prune was always made using a square fold).

For many years after my mom passed away the girls in the family gathered each weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas and baked our traditional pastries. The last 2 years my siblings have aged and just can't do it any more, so I have spent my weekends baking and sharing the Apricot and Prune filled pastries. My sister who is closest to my age will make the nut and poppy seed roles and share at her annual Christmas party.

Last year Susie, the sister who is closest to my age did something that I thought was so incredible.

She is retired, I still work full time, am slowly renovating my house and both Susie and I have been spending most of our spare time helping my oldest sister, who's health is failing and couldn't decorate or shop or wrap gifts . . .

Susie knows that I love building a really nice puzzle 500 or 1000 piece puzzle every year around Christmas, but last year I had told her I didn't buy a puzzle because I knew I didn't have any time to build one.

On November 30th Susie brought me a box with 24 small, numbered gift boxes inside. An advent calendar gift box. Each day I opened a box and found about 20 puzzle pieces and a small token gift (a baggie with a few of my favorite candies in it, a lip balm, sample hand cream, perfume sample, a couple of wax tarts, a tiny face exfoliator that I love (link below), nail polish, small ornament that looked like my dog . . . ) The puzzle pieces weren't random, she had built the puzzle and taken 20 pieces that fit together and placed them in each box, so each night I could build another section of the puzzle. Even the little gifts that she put with the puzzle pieces were specially chosen for me. Scents that I love, candies I love, colors I love.

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