For Kathleen Larimer and her family, Christmas truly is the season for giving. In remembrance of her brother's untimely death, Kathleen now hosts a Christmas tea and asks each guest to bring a gift for the young patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
"I began this tradition because I wanted to do something to make a difference. I chose St. Jude's because my brother, Nicholas, was a patient there, and he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 6," says Kathleen, who lives in Dayton, Ohio.
"It made sense to gather gifts for Christmas, as my family knew all too well what it was like to spend the holidays in the hospital."
Since 2000, Kathleen, her sister, Marie Evans, and the rest of her family have cooked, baked and collected gifts for the event. The menu includes traditional English fare like scones and tea sandwiches as well as a big crowd-pleaser, Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Kathleen and Marie check Taste of Home throughout the year and clip recipes to make for the tea.
"We wanted to provide a bit of joy to children who are staying at the hospital, and to honor the memory of my brother," Kathleen says. "But the tea has become more than that. It's a thank-you to all my friends. Combining that with the toys collected for St. Jude's makes it that much more meaningful."
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