Saturday, December 16, 2006


The girlie and I spent today baking Christmas cookies. Mmm. The house smelled so good.

Growing up, my mom would bake for what seemed like kind of cookie each day until she had an impressive variety with which to fill the cookie trays she made to give away to friends and family. When I got married, that's how I did it too. That's how it had always been done, and I knew nothing else. I did this for years, dutifully making a cookie list, checking it twice to make sure I had all ingredients on hand, and then I baked for days on end until all of my cookies were checked off the list.

Some time over the past few years, I finally came to the realization that: this is a pain in the ass. With all of the rest of the things going on in December, who in the heck wants their kitchen looking like a wreck for days on end? So, one year, quite by accident, I discovered the joy of getting the majority of my baking done in one day. One messy day. For whatever reason, I'd been behind the eight ball that year and was thinking of skipping baking all together because I didn't have days to spend on it. But then, despite how daunting the thought was, I decided to do it all at once. And it was great. And so a new tradition was born.

The kids and I made our cookie list the other day when we were eating dinner at Denny's in the midst of their Christmas shopping trip. We decided on sugar cookies (a Christmas cookie staple), peanut butter cookies, peanut butter blossoms (can never have too much peanut butter), M&M cookies, spritz cookies, shortbread cookies, noodle cookies and cheesecake squares. After a late start to the baking (dubbed by my daughter as "Major Cookie Mayhem"), we managed to get six of the eight varieties done today. We'll do the remaining two tomorrow afternoon. And come Monday, I'll be able to have a nice cookie tray ready to send to work with my husband for his office.

Some friends of mine think I'm crazy for putting myself through this self-imposed baking exercise each year. But really, after cutting back and not baking as much for a few years, I realize how much a part of the holiday experience this is for me, and I love doing it. (If you need proof of how important Christmas baking is to me, consider the fact that three days after I came home from giving birth to my middle son, via c-section, I was up baking Christmas cookies. That's dedication!) And I love that my daughter loves doing it with me, knowing that someday she will likely make it a tradition of her own.

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