Christmas at our house this year was a quiet one. Good friends had us over for Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day was spent at home. Carl and I were the recipients of kind and thoughtful family members and friends who sent gifts for us to enjoy, and (of course) there were a few packages for the dogs too.
One gift we received was anonymous, and while I can't be totally positive, I'm quite sure that the giver was at a luncheon that I attended a couple of weeks ago. Over lunch that day, the conversation turned to favorite holiday traditions, memories and food. I shared one about Christmas stollen. (For those of you who may not know, a stollen is a traditional German Christmas yeast bread with nuts and dried fruits. The dough is wrapped around a log of marzipan before baking and the finished loaf is generously dusted with confectioner sugar.)
~Shadow and Sheba~
For many, many years, my Mother used to send me a Christmas stollen. I have to admit, that I didn't always like them, but my Mom enjoyed them so much, and so eventually, I did too. Getting a stollen in my Christmas box from home each year and enjoying a slice with a cup of tea became something I looked forward too. Even when my Mom was unable to shop for herself, she still made sure that I received one (or two) at the holidays. After my Mom passed away, I found myself that first Christmas missing having a stollen and so I bought one, and have gotten one each year to carry on that tradition. But this year, as I told everyone over lunch, the Scrooge inside me was balking at the price of $20 for a small loaf, and so I had decided to forgo the tradition; I still had the memory after all and actually having a Christmas stollen wasn't really that important. However I have to admit, that after lunch that day, each time I saw them at the grocery store, I hesitated when I walked past, because deep inside, I really did want one. But I was determined to stand strong in my boycott of such a high price for a small Christmas stollen -- I simply was not going to spend that much on one.
Fast forward to early Christmas morning. The day began with the dogs and I taking a walk as the sun started to rise. When we returned to the house, the sun was just above the horizon, and its brilliant rays were shining brightly and warming the air. That was when I noticed something hanging on our gate, in a plain brown bag. Inside there was no card, just a Christmas stollen. There are no words to express my humble gratitude for a perfect gift on Christmas morning. I could only make a toast with my cup of hot tea to my Mom, and to whoever left the stollen, allowing my tradition to continue.