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Sacred Heart Griffin Springfield Illinois

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT – We had a very special visit from entrepreneur and author of The Sugar Plum Tree, Mary Louise (Lynch) Santacaterina, ’82.

Mary Louise spoke to Miss Thompson’s entrepreneurship class about starting her publishing company and the marketing of her book, which she co-wrote with her two sisters, also alumnae.

To read more about Mary Louise, or to be featured in a future edition of the Alumni Spotlight, click the link below:


Events For the Holidays!

Line Up: The Sugar Plum Tree Event Calendar

November 14-16: Room With A View, Westport CT
November 19: Lolipop Kids, Naples FL
November 22: Holiday Fair, Fairfield CT

December 1: Christ The King School, Springfield IL
December 3: Blessed Sacrament School, Springfield IL
December 4: Sacred Heart Griffin, Springfield IL
December 6: Weston Women’s League, Weston CT
December 7: The Chocolate Expo, Hartford CT
December 12: Reading, Greenwich CT
December 13: Five Kidz Kandy, Waynesburg PA
December 13-14: Shop POST 154, Westport CT

AND there’s still room for more! Let us know if you want an event and we will try to accommodate!f2mvkGnjqSXFvOaA0XPRD3Ajllztc2g6aUELK-1ZtWw


Move over Elf, there’s a NEW kid on the block! The Sugar Plum Tree



Hey ELF!  Move over, there’s a new kid on the block!  And guess what?  This tradition is not secular, can be read anytime (although we suggest special occasions,) does not have a “naughty or nice” element  or have a third party “watching over you.”  Instead, it’s all about kid-powered-dreams-can-come-true.

Introducing….The Sugar Plum Tree! “a bedtime story with sweet dreams and a candy twist!”

Now by no means do we want to bash an Elf on A Shelf.  As a matter of fact, our “Dream Team” admires the Elf creators! So much so, we modeled our marketing strategies after them – at least after how they started – growing one book at a time.  But here’s how we differ.  We are in local stores, and on our own website, (Etsy and Ebay) ONLY and prefer to keep it that way! We’re a small local company who supports small local companies.

Will we be criticized too? You bet!  Our special occasion bedtime tradition has candy under the bed for a morning surprise.  And in an environment that: deals with extremes, is  “anti-sugar,” and is filled with concerns, we have our work cut out for us.

But I’m sure that’s the battle every new, mass produced tradition faces. For example,  Matt Pelc, Huffington Post (2013), states Elf on the Shelf Ruined their Christmas (or at least came very close)  Why?  A couple of reasons, Kelsey (Matt’s daughter) could not bear to say goodbye to her new elf friend “Missy.”  This caused tears for months after Christmas almost to the following Christmas creating a dilemma for Kelsey’s parents.  The next Christmas, Matt explains, they were not ready to have repeat. So in tandem with the new Elf on A Shelf commercials they broke the news to Kelsey that the Elf was really them.  “We walked a delicate line telling her Missy wasn’t real, but kept her belief in Santa alive.”  read Matt’s full post here:

And Brian Gresko, last year posted his feelings on the Elf in a babble blog. While he admits that he “does Santa,” he believes the Elf tradition has crossed the line.  His reasons?  It’s completely changed his habits and not for the better.  He can no longer watch talk and news programs that feature the Elf (for fear it will ruin his kids “magical experience.” He avoids big box stores during the holidays.  But most importantly he states that instead of one short quick “lie” this extends the “lie” to be a month long.  And the whole idea that Santa has surveillance on you is creepy!  To read Brian’s perspective see:

The Sugar Plum Tree is learning from those who blazed the “follow-our-tradition-path” and promises to learn and do better.  Give us a try not just for the holidays but for all your big and little occasions!


Did you know ??



In honor of Eugene Field,  a bronze fairylike “dream lady”  was installed in Lincoln Park Chicago.  The statue hovers above a pair of sleeping children with a small bunch of poppies dangling from one of her hands. The granite base depicts carved scenes from Field’s poems including “The Fly Away Horse” and Seein’ Things.” There is a stanza from his famous “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” carved into the left side of the base and four lines from “The Sugar Plum Tree,” on the right side.


Did you know??

Did you know??

The original poem, The Sugar Plum Tree, was written in 1894 as part of a collection of children’s poems entitled, Trumpet and Drum? 

In researching The Sugar Plum Tree, and where it’s possible origins came from, we discovered some interesting facts.  Linguistically:


The word “sugar plum” first came into use around the 1600s with the British, and later the 1700’s with the French.  (Early records indicate the term sugar plum, in America, was popularized (and in use) around the 1800’s.) The first and original use of the word described the taste of plums and/or comfits after the labor intensive process of panning was complete. (Panning (or sugar-panning) was accomplished by adding a hard shell to candy or nuts.  – Think jelly beans or M&M’s.)




The term sugar plum altered its meaning (slightly) with the publication and production of, The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker (Composed by Tchaikovsky, 1892), as well as, the line “Visions of sugar plums danced in their heads,” from Clement C. Moore’s poem A Visit from St. Nicholas (1823), better known as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,”  since then, the word (sugar plum) has been associated with Christmas.

It diverged, yet again, from the Scandinavia tradition of Christmas through the popular poem “The Sugar Plum Tree” (1894) by Eugene Field.



What’s Happening NOW?

___________________________What’s Happening NOW?


The Sugar Plum Tree, by Katherine James, illustrated by Jan Dolby, has exceeded expectations!  Not bad for a little self published book with a big dream.  “We’ve positioned ourselves to sell in small, local, mom and pop shops, candy and toy stores and online.”   one of the trio of authors explains.  “We’ve out sold our anticipated goal two times now, and the year isn’t over! It’s been an amazing and humbling experience!”


With over 2,000 in sales in Canada, US and UK, and partnerships with candy manufactures on the horizon, this team of three keeps their feet on the ground.  “Listening to how the book is actually being used is eye opening, we started with just our tradition – of keeping our kids in bed, and what we’re learning is other people are developing their own traditions.  It’s more than exciting it’s encouraging – we’re on to something!”  Examples of how other parents are using the book include, potty training, sleep over parties, great day events and more.  There’s tons of ideas on our website.


What does the future hold?  “More sales, one book at a time.” LilyLu-3Sisters


Did you know???

_______________________Did you know??  


Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Eugene Field’s hyper-popularity and near-celebrity-status was considered a mystery to some and obvious to others?

Field, a wildly-popular American writer  – better known as:  “the people’s poet ” was a friend of Mark Twain, an avid reader, a doll and miniature book collector, a contemporary of fellow children’s author Roald Dhal, and “a bundle of great surprises!”  Field prided himself on his collection of writings from other children’s writers, often using them as a foundation, or a spring board, for his own original work.

At the height of his popularity, it was written in a local paper that Longfellow, Whittier, or Riely, “…all of whom can be defended as fluent, competent writers, Field (on the other hand) is often awkward and inconsistent veering into baby like talk, fake Middle English, unconvincing Hoosier dialect and school-boy latin. And yet, … he out sold Emily Dickinson, and his celebrity (status) as an eccentric sprite rivaled hers.”

Hannibal Hamlin Garland, (American poet, essayist, and friend) reiterated (and gave a possible explanation to) Field’s popularity during the unveiling and dedication of the Field House and Museum in St. Louis, MO.  He quoted Field by saying, “I (Field) have never put a high estimate on my verse.  That it popular is because my sympathies and the public’s just happen to run on parallel lines.”

Perhaps it was his prankish style, or perhaps, and more likely, Field had it right when he said “his sympathies and the public’s happened to run parallel lines.”  His writing were all post- industrialization when men (and women) were placed in narrow boxes and doctrine of the times ruled.  This, coupled with harsh school environment, further narrowed and stripped children’s innocence which undoubtedly fanned Field’s writing.  After all, it was said that Field’s work was known to have “blurred the boundary between childhood and adulthood” – thereby allowing children to keep their innocence (and power as children) while, at the same time, inviting adults to slip into a childlike stance and remember what it is like to be innocent again.  This was, perhaps, Field’s magic, and explanation, for his popularity.






















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