Merry to you.
This was the subject line of a simple email my mom received from her father two years ago. 2011 was the first time in over 50 years that my mother would not be spending Christmas with her father.
My parents were living in London that year and had flown my sister, her boyfriend, and my husband and I across the pond to spend the holidays with them.
Three days before Christmas, with a simple “ping” sound, “Merry to you” appeared in her inbox. After reading it, she forwarded it to me and I silently cried in my cubicle during my last day at work before we flew out of Chicago.
The email was a collection of thoughts and memories of their relationship and holidays shared over many decades and how 2011 would be the first Christmas apart. One small paragraph really struck a cord with me that day. Enough so that I printed the email to forever keep it:
Then as I usually do, I’ll play the last of the Christmas music – by myself – and thank the Good Lord for blessing me with such a wonderful family – wife, kids, spouses & grandchildren (and all those other cousins, etc). The world could not be any better at that moment.
I could picture him sitting in his armchair next to a crackling fire. His well-worn tan slippers on his feet, listening to soft Christmas music playing in the background. Light, powdery snowflakes fall outside the window and he quietly soaks in the moment and counts his blessings.
That email and his words mean more to my family than any gift ever wrapped under a tree.
I oftentimes think that we’re quick to take moments, experiences, and people for granted when they make up the routine of our everyday. This is one of the reasons I’m so thankful for the Christmas spirit. It’s a time to stop, reflect, give thanks and be grateful for our friends, family, and another year with them all.
Like many of you out there, food is a binder that brings people together and can be a wonderful vessel to show your love and care. This Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding is a nod to our British Christmas and the homey, warm flavors of the holiday season.
Whether you have a scoop of this bread pudding, a leftover Christmas cookie, or just a cup of coffee, pause and take a moment. Enjoy some quiet solitude. Listen to the last of the Christmas music. Smile and give thanks for all that we have and all those we hold dear.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
See you in 2014!
P.S. Sorry for the mush fest, it’s what the holidays do to me!
Why Bake in a Water Bath?
By placing the bread pudding in a roasting pan with water, you create a gentle environment for the pudding to bake. The custard and bread will stay moist and cook without browning or burning on the edges. Be careful transferring in and out of the oven!