“The Plum Pudding Phenomenon” by Kae Noyce Tienstra

I am delighted to have my story included in A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Volume Three: Heartwarming Tales of Christmas Past. I have enjoyed the entire Guideposts experience and am already thinking about ideas for another Christmas story.

Kae's Post Plum PuddingThe setting:
“The Plum Pudding Phenomenon” is set in a small town in Colorado during the mid-fifties.

The story:
Written from the perspective of eleven-year-old Amy Norris, “The Plum Pudding Phenomenon” finds the Norris family struggling with several setbacks. Mr. Norris has lost his job unexpectedly; Abigail, Amy’s mother, has a broken arm, and money is tighter than usual. Amy decides that the annual plum pudding making is just what the family needs to put them in a holiday mood.

The inspiration:
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. The old family plum pudding recipe was the highlight of our Christmas celebrations. I remember with great fondness the annual shopping for ingredients and the full-day of chopping, mixing and steaming the puddings for family and friends. It was a unique and delightful tradition that our family looked forward to each year.

The takeaway:
Christmas is a time to revel in what makes your family special. Though it’s tempting to try to “keep up with the Joneses,” this is a time to value your family traditions and pass them along to your children. Sometimes those traditions can transform your life and those of friends and neighbors as well!

Gingerbread Men

Click image to view source in Wikimedia Commons.

Christmas traditions:
In addition to making plum pudding, my own children and I loved making Christmas cookies to give away. Our favorite recipe continues to be for Gingerbread Men. I’ve made these with my grandsons too and given personalized gingerbread men and ladies to friends and family.

Your turn:
Do you make Christmas cookies? Do you concentrate on just one recipe, or do you make a variety to give as gifts?

My giveaway!

I’m giving away this mug, which I purchased from my favorite coffee shop
in picturesque downtown LaBelle, Florida. Special tea bags will be included!

Kae's Post Giveaway

 Click this link to be taken to our Rafflecopter drawing.
Once there, follow the directions to enter. Drawing ends Dec. 14th.

(U.S. addresses only, please.)

For your protection, do not include personal information in a comment.

Congratulations to the giveaway winner, Kimberly P.

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 Check out the Giveaways page on our site to learn about our fun giveaways.

(Note: If comments aren’t visible below the post, click the green circle under the post date.)

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Kae TienstraThe storyteller:
Kae Noyce Tienstra has been a book publicist for decades and for the past six years has been a practicing literary agent along with her husband Jon. Kae and Jon have three grown children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They live in Pennsylvania and spend their winters in a tiny town in southwest Florida. Kae finds the sub-tropical winters to be a great inspiration for her writing. In addition to writing short stories, Kae is currently working on a memoir and a middle-grade fantasy.

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10 thoughts on ““The Plum Pudding Phenomenon” by Kae Noyce Tienstra

  1. When I was younger, I used to make a variety of Christmas goodies. My dad loved to sample all of them. My favorite dessert to make in later years was fudge. I’m not the best baker, but my fudge turned out rich and creamy every time. My dad put away plenty of it through the years, and so did I. He’s no longer with us, but I have special memories of Christmases past that I’ll treasure, and many of them revolve around those sweet treats.

    • It’s amazing, isn’t it Keli, how special recipes can act as “time machines,” reminding us of the loved ones we cherish?

  2. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Kae. I love family traditions. We have several and I didn’t realize how much they had impacted my kids until this year when we were talking about them. It makes me feel good that those are precious memories and to see my daughter continue them with her children. Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

    • Thanks for the comment, Debbie! I’m finding that my young grandchildren are already beginning to value the holiday traditions of the family. I wish you and your family a warm and loving holiday.

  3. What a fun story, Kae! I’ve never tried plum pudding, but it sounds delicious. Our family baking tradition was buttermilk cookies (sugar-like cookies with a cream-cheese frosting). They used to fill our fridge and freezer, and I can testify that the frozen variety tasted just as good as the room-temperature ones. 🙂

  4. Your story is written from an interesting point of view, Kae, to see Christmas through the eyes of a tween. My mom taught me to make sugar cookies at an early age, although we only used the sugar crystals, nonpareils, sprinkles, and dragees for decoration. It wasn’t until I was watching a Martha Stewart show years ago that I first saw sugar cookies being iced, because at home, icing was reserved for the gingerbread men. Now we use one or the other, and sometimes even both. Sure makes for a sweet cookie. 🙂

  5. I have never had plum pudding. Your post has made me curious. Through the years I have made a variety of Christmas cookies but don’t have a set tradition. However, nothing can top the ones my Grandma used to make. She would make huge goodie boxes with home made cookies, candy, Amish Friendship Bread, and puppy chow every year and mail them to all her grandkids (19). It didn’t matter where we were living, we would receive that box with enough of each item for each person in the family to have one or two each. It was my delight and joy to receive them while I was stationed overseas.

  6. Oh, I love family traditions, Kae!! Thank you for sharing yours. My grandmother used to make a graham cracker pudding with vanilla hard sauce for Christmas — and I so with I had the recipe! It was almost cake-like but the recipes I’ve searched online don’t seem like they would be the same. 😦 Sadly, Gramma left us about 20 years ago and none of us were fortunate enough to have that treasured recipe. ~ However, I do have her recipe for rosette cookies that she made every Christmas — and I very happily follow her tradition of making them every year. They are a family favorite!!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I hope it is very blessed.

    Blessings to you ~
    Kimberly

  7. I’m always trying new recipes. I LOVE to bake cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, etc. However, years ago, i found a recipe for a Golden Apple Coffee Crown. It tastes just as delicious as is sounds! I make that every year.

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