Like most people there are many little things that please me about holiday gift giving. I love thoughtful gifts, well planned gifts, creative gifts, charitable gifts, handmade gifts. However, over the past few years my cousins have given me something I have come to enjoy above all other little presents. Homemade jam and jelly. Each year they tuck a jar into their other present as almost an after thought and each year I spend the following week gobbling up toast and english muffins spread with their utterly delicious jelly. I can’t help myself, it is the feature ingredient in every breakfast until the moment it is gone, the last few smears scraped from the jar with a spatula.
Homemade jelly just tastes better. It’s colors are deeper, it’s flavors are richer, so much less of it goes so much further, and it has the ability to turn each item it is spread on into a trip back in time to the March’s breakfast table. Spreading it onto my toast feels like the playacting I used to do as a child and sitting down to eat it feels like a treat, every time.
I wish my cousins would simply pack me a selection from their family jar each year and give me nothing else. While their other gifts are tasteful and appreciated nothing makes me happier than to see that shining jar nestled neatly inside my package, placed there as just a little extra small gift, waiting for breakfast.