Christmas Pajamas

My Christmas Pajama tradition started here, at maryjanesfarm.com and led me this year to a very interesting place. A place that I need your help with. Big time. But before we talk about that, let’s talk about our own childhood Christmases. Do you remember the way you felt as a kid on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning? Do you remember the excitement and joy and hope that filled your heart? Do you still feel that? Do you remember the first time you enjoyed the GIVING more than the GETTING?

Christmas is such a special time. I’ve always loved the whole season and quite frankly, celebrate what Christmas means all year long.
But I never really considered traditions and rituals until I had a child of my own 10 years ago. That’s when I realized that it was up to us to create our own traditions. I don’t remember the year I discovered MaryJane and her Farmgirl Connection, but being a part of that group of wonderful women helped me find traditions for my own family. (Whoa, I just found where you can look up when you joined the Farmgirl Connection. It was 2005! Time does indeed fly when you’re having fun!)
Jenny, known as “Aunt Jenny “ on the Farmgirl Connection, was the one who first inspired me to do “Christmas Pajamas.” I remember seeing a group picture of her children on Christmas morning, dressed in their pretty red pajamas THAT SHE HAD MADE FOR THEM. Floored me. What a wonderful gift for her kids. Aunt Jenny had made them with her own hands, in complete love. Wow.
Now, believe me, I didn’t think I could ever attain that (ever!), making pajamas for my daughter, but I knew I could start a Christmas Pajama tradition anyway. I’d just have to buy them.
And so it began. Ever since I read about that tradition, my daughter opens up a box on Christmas Eve. And in that box are special Christmas Pajamas. They are always red or pink. They are plaid or polka-dotted or have pictures of Christmas kittens or puppies or trees or packages on them. She loves this tradition. I just bought this year’s; they are stashed away, waiting to be boxed and wrapped. Here, take a peek:

That reminds me. My Mom recently found an old nightgown from my childhood. Red plaid flannel, with eyelet lace. You know what? I should return those cute kitty pajamas and give my daughter this 40ish year old gown instead. I wonder what she’d think? Wrapped in a pretty box, with beautiful tissue and this old thing. I bet she’d LOVE it!

So I mentioned that the Christmas Pajama Tradition had led me somewhere that I need your help with. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it all (I’ll post all the stories and details at www.rebekahteal.com) but the short version goes like this:
Our Christmas Pajama tradition recently inspired me and my daughter to start a charity project called Sweet Dreams Kenyan Orphans. We want every orphan girl at St. Clare’s orphanage in Kenya to know that warm, loved feeling that new, cozy, GIFTED pajamas somehow magically give children. We want to provide the 340 orphan girls who live there the hope of sweet dreams….
St. Clare’s is the orphanage and school where Sister Kathryn Cliatt is working. Do you remember Sister Kathryn? I wrote about her in my column for the “Sister Act” Issue of maryjanesfarm Magazine. I wanted to interview her for that column, but when I went to find the then retired Sister Kathryn, I learned that she was in Kenya working with orphan girls. She was 75 at the time! Knowing her, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Instead of kicking back, drinking hot tea, and writing her memoirs, she’s off saving orphan girls in Africa.

Sister Kathryn is an inspiration.
Sister Kathryn is a do-er.
Sister Kathryn is someone who makes things happen.
You see, when I came up with this idea, I thought it would be easy enough. We’d collect the pj’s and ship them right over to the girls. I soon learned that we couldn’t simply collect pajamas here, ship them to the orphans in Kenya AND THE GIRLS ACTUALLY RECEIVE THEM. That just doesn’t happen. Packages don’t arrive.
Bud Ozar, the founder of Friends of Kenyan Orphans, came up with the idea to have the gowns made there, in Africa. Brilliant! I loved that idea right away. This was even better! Not only would the girls get gowns, but we’d be putting the money into the pockets of women seamstresses in Kenya.
But how would I possibly pull that off? Sister Kathryn, that’s how!
Sister Kathryn is taking care of The Sweet Dreams Kenyan Orphans Nightgown Project on the Kenyan side. That’s no small feat. We are collecting the money HERE in order to hire local Kenyan seamstresses THERE.
Sister Kathryn has already located the fabric and the local seamstresses. Now all we need to do is raise the funds.
Here are the details:
 Your tax deductible gift of $10 per gown gives 4 times. Here’s what happens with each $10 donation:
FIRST       You make the donation for a nightgown in honor of your family member or friend as a gift to them
SECOND  A local seamstress in Kenya earns the money as income; she is then able to buy food or clothes or medicine for her family.
THIRD       The gown is given to an orphan with love and in love, an orphan who has never in her life received special pajamas made just for her.
FOURTH   You receive the tax deduction.
See? Four times: your friend or family member; the seamstresses in Kenya; the orphan girls themselves; and your tax deduction.
And here’s another important thing to know.
100% of your donation goes to have these special nightgowns made. Yes, 100 pennies of every single dollar of this project will go for fabric and labor. No other costs. Nothing hidden. It’s all done under the umbrella of the organization that helps these children, Friends of Kenyan Orphans. http://www.friendsofkenyanorphans.org/. This is a small and lean organization that is operated by volunteers. To make a donation through PayPal, go to this page on the site and follow their link to PayPal. http://www.friendsofkenyanorphans.org/?page_id=199
And, if you’d rather send a check here is their address:
FRIENDS OF KENYAN ORPHANS, 920 Berkshire Road, Grosse Pointe, MI 48230 Attn: Sweet Dreams
 
In order to contribute to this project, it is very important to SPECIFY THAT YOUR DONATION IS FOR SWEET DREAMS KENYAN ORPHANS. Just make a note OF SWEET DREAMS in the message/notes section or write it on your check.
Then, make sure to email me bekateal@gmail.com and let me know so that I can send you a special and personal thank you note. Just tell me the names of the people you are giving each gown in. Each $10 can be a separate gift for you to give, or maybe you want to give several gowns in someone’s name. It is your choice, just let me know when you email me. I’ll send you a special email back for you to print out and wrap up for Christmas gift giving. Feel free to email me with questions as well. Thank you so much for your generosity. This is a great way to help the world be a better place.
Over the next few days, I’ll put up details, details, details on my blog at www.rebekahteal.com.
Now here’s another family tradition that also originated on the Farmgirl Connection. It’s our Christmas morning breakfast. It is so yummy and easy. It actually bakes while we open our presents. I can’t remember who posted this recipe years ago, and my search to find it on the site came up empty. But thank you to some Farmgirl for adding this tradition to our Christmas morning. It’s Christmas Morning Puffy Pancake. A delicious start to a delicious day.
Christmas Morning Puffy Pancake
4 eggs
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 TBSP. Butter
1 tsp. each cinnamon
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract
 
FRUIT FOR TOPPING
2 cups sliced strawberries and blueberries OR
2 cups apples, peeled and sliced, sautéed in 1 TBSP. butter with 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, allspice and ginger.
 
WHIPPED TOPPING
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place eggs, flour, milk, vanilla, and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a blender and blend.  (Or whisk vigorously in a bowl.)
Melt butter in an oven proof round skillet. (Either in the pre-heating oven or on stovetop.)
Pour batter into the skillet.
Bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes until puffy and golden.
Slice as you would a pie.
Serve topped with fruit and then whipped topping.
Wishing you a Christmas filled with Joy and Hope and Love.
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

Leave a comment 9 Comments

  1. Brisja says:

    We, too, have a Christmas pajama tradition that started when I was a little girl. My son loves it, and so do we. Your idea of providing jobs and pajamas in Kenya is such a wonderful one, we will be donating to it as part of our Twelve Days of Christmas donation tradition! Thank you for the time and effort you have put into starting this and for giving us a great place to donate for one of our twelve donations this year!

  2. Janice K. says:

    Thanks you for the great idea! I will be looking forward to hearing just how many folks respond to the pj project.
    Your involvement with Sister Kathryn is wonderful…
    Great job!

  3. Joan says:

    Here’s a p.j. tradition that passed many years ago but is held dear in the hearts of my sister, cousins and me. Our Grandmother and Aunt Florence made p.j’s and night gowns for each of the younger boys and girls and night gowns/robes for the older girls and shirts for the older boys – up to 13 – all were of flannel. Now one might say – ok so – well there were almost 30 at one time that received these wonderful presents. I lived with my Grandparents and Aunt so I had the privilege of helping with these most sought after gifts and I did keep it a secret at to what color/s each was getting. AND the most of these were made without a pattern – Grandma and Aunt Florence were so very talented that they would just start cutting and out would come the MOST WONDERFUL garment and MEMORY. Thanks for being part of our memory and I am so happy you too do the p.j. gift – I do it for my grandchildren also – I have 2 lovely wonderful specials to do it for. Merry Christmas. – p.s. I still take out one of my old p.j.’s – I’m 66 – so it is old – just fun to look at.

  4. Nan Roberts says:

    I can’t remember when I started getting flannel nightgowns from my mother for Christmas. It must have been when I was grown. All my three older sisters and I always got a flannel nightgown, for decades. And I wore them until they wore out. In fact, I have two that I still wear, and I’m going through the elbow of one of them. I want to learn to sew my own flannel nightgown. We always knew we’d get one, and we always loved them. My mother died in 2008, so I miss getting my nightgown. But I can give one to a Kenya girl. And maybe I’ll go over to the sewing folks on the forums and I can learn how to sew my own. Thanks for reminding me.

  5. Barbara Lavell says:

    My 3 daughters are all grown (youngest is 46). One of their
    favorite Christmas memories is of getting Christmas pajamas
    every year from their grandmother, my mother-in-law. They
    always received many wonderful gifts from parents, aunts, uncles, etc. but their favorites were always the pajamas.
    Grandma always included a special book for each of them and
    they would get into their pajamas and Grandma would read them their book. Lovely memories. This year my great-grandaughter, who is 6, is receiving an American Girl Doll
    which is designed to look like her. I am making she & her doll matching nightgowns. I’m excited to see her face when she opens them.

  6. KimberlyD says:

    My mom always gave us pj’s for my brothers and nightgown and robe for me, every Christmas. She passed away in 2002, thanks for maken me remember her and this tradition from my childhood.

  7. Ruth Bross says:

    I really loved your post on the christmas pjs. I am a mother of 10 and grandmother of 23 and greatgrandmother of 18 and I make p.j.s for all of them for christmas. the older ones only get pajama pants but girls under 16 get gowns or p.j.s It is so much fun looking for the fabric for each family I start in January collecting fabric. I live on my Social Security so can’t get all of it at once. I wish that I had know about this sooner and would have given . I spent 2yrs in So.Africa. If you still collect after the 1st of year I would love to donate . Let me know
    Ruth

  8. rebekah says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE! THERE HAS BEEN A FANTASTIC RESPONSE TO THE NIGHTGOWN PROJECT! WHAT A GREAT BUNCH OF LOVING AND CARING SOULS!

    I’M SO SORRY, BUT I ACCIDENTALLY DELETED MANY COMMENTS! IF YOU DON’T SEE YOURS ABOVE, YOU’LL NEED TO RE-SUBMIT. SO SORRY!! I’M REALLY NOT VERY GOOD WITH THIS COMPUTER!

    Y’ALL HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY! MUCH LOVE TO YOU! REBEKAH

  9. Carol in NC says:

    What is it about Africa that settles in your heart and camps out? My husband and I took a trip there a few years ago and I wanted to bring back every 15 year old girl I met because each one was still so full of hopes and dreams. The 21 year olds were a different story, full of despair and caught in the reality of their situations. Heartbreaking.

    I have a friend here who is doing a similar thing with shoes. She is a go getter as well! What started with a simple video she saw on YouTube has grown exponentially, with cutting parties all over the country, then they ship the precut (adorable) shoes to Africa to be sown by women there.

    At a cutting party recently at a prison, one guy couldn’t get over the fact that the shoes he was cutting out would actually be placed on the feet of a child. He said that would be his first time to ever help someone!

    You can see her here:
    solehope.com

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