Bismarck teacher remembers mother, students with special Christmas ornaments

Published: Nov. 29, 2020 at 12:44 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The holidays are full of traditions; from who we spend them with, to the foods we prepare and the decorations we display.

One Bismarck elementary teacher says her favorite Christmas tradition is the ornaments she displays every year. Lyndsey Hoffer says it’s nothing fancy, but the story and the meaning behind these decorations make them extra special.

“They were a part of my class and I want to remember them,” says Lyndsey Hoffer, a third-grade teacher at Bismarck’s Centennial elementary.

Hoffer remembers the names of every student she’s ever taught. If she ever forgets, she needs look no further than her Christmas decorations.

“They have the names of all 213 kids I’ve taught in my 10 years,” she says.

There is a Christmas ball for every year she’s been teaching.

“These mean a lot to me,” she says.

They go back to 2010, when she was a brand-new teacher in Minot.

“My first year of teaching my mom came to help me with a Christmas project,” Hoffer recalls.

That same year, her mom also started this tradition. She secretly had each of Hoffer’s students paint their fingerprint on this Christmas ball. She came back to Hoffer’s classroom the next year and did it again.

“My third year of teaching, my mom got cancer and passed way in September.”

Hoffer has kept the tradition alive. This is her 10th year.

“They bring back so many great memories as well as tears and joys that Christmas brings,” Hoffer explains.

Three years ago, Hoffer and her family moved to Bismarck. She brought the Christmas ball tradition with her. Because it turns out, these Christmas balls not only help her remember her mom, they also help her remember her students/

“Not only have I taught them, but they have made a big impact on my life,” she says.

And this year more than ever it’s helping her remember what’s really important in life.

“It helps put things into perspective what really matters,” Hoffer says. “These kids need to know they have someone that really cares about them.”

It’s a part of her life and a part of her heart - and a tribute to her mom - forever preserved in these Christmas ornaments.

Hoffer teaches third grade at Bismarck’s Centennial elementary. She says her students will be creating this year’s Christmas ball in the next few days.

She displays the Christmas balls at her home, because she says her students are her family and having the ornaments at home makes it feel like they’re with her throughout the holiday season.

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