It's hard to think about Christmas without my mom. Even though I haven't been home for the holidays in several years, Mom was still a part of my Christmas. She sent care packages with her homemade peanut brittle, cookies and gifts -- usually at least one of which was handmade. Mom's peanut brittle was legendary. Even people who claimed not to like peanut brittle were won over by her recipe -- handed down to her from my paternal grandmother (the secret is the cooling and pulling process).
This year, there will be no care package. As I hang the ornaments and put out the decorations, there are plenty of things to remind me of Mom: Santas and ornaments she made and ornaments and decorations from when I was a kid.
While it makes me sad to not have her around any more, the decorations also make me nostalgic. And I'm thankful to have the things she made, items she created with care and love, items that can't be bought or duplicated.
And maybe someday, I'll figure out how to make peanut brittle the way she did.