Holiday Traditions – Christmas Cookies

Posted Dec 13 2011, 8:00 am in , , , ,

I grew up with very few holiday traditions. The ones we did have came from my grandparents more than my mom. My dad died when I was 4, so she was a single working mother and she did her best. She always did Christmas morning breakfast for the whole family. Christmas Eve was at her mom’s house and Christmas dinner at my paternal grandma’s house. At the grandparents’ houses, we had traditions, but at home, not so much.

When I was a teenager, my best friend and I decided to take a Sunday and bake Christmas cookies. Sunday was the only day off we both had, and we both enjoy baking. The first few years we did this, we baked at my house and my mom was very tolerant of the mess we made. She of course got plenty of cookies for putting up with us. We gave cookies to everyone we knew.

It became our tradition. Through husbands and pregnancies and children, we’ve baked together every year for the last 24 years. We still have people asking why we do it. We get looks like we’re crazy when people hear that we spend ALL day baking. Our answer: we love it. It’s a day we can spend together and just bake and talk and have a few laughs.

This shows most of this year’s cookies – there are a few outside the shot

Our production has definitely increased over the years. On average, we make about 20 kinds of cookies. I don’t think we’ve ever kept track of how many dozens, but I’m sure it’s a scary large number. People have come to depend on our Christmas cookies because they’re so good. I’ve had fellow teachers wince when I quit working because they knew they would no longer get that tray or tin of cookies. (Yes, I’ve actually had colleagues ask if I would deliver cookies even though I no longer worked there.)

It’s a tradition that our kids expect too. They’ve all taken part in cookie baking. Whether they roll dough into balls or sprinkle powdered sugar or just taste test new recipes, they all participate. They like bringing the tin of cookies to school and letting their teachers know they helped bake.

I bake year round, but this is special baking. This is about friendship and love and sharing.

What traditions have you started for yourself or your family?



6 responses to “Holiday Traditions – Christmas Cookies”

  1. That sounds like a wonderful tradition. I believe I might institute this for myself. Thanks so much for sharing. Oh, could you pass one of those …

  2. I have a friend who does the same thing, except it takes her an entire weekend (sometimes two). I helped her with the baking one year in college. We had the best time making rum balls ;-). I’d love to get into this as a tradition but I don’t need to eat all that sugar, and I’m weak; there is no way I wouldn’t be sampling every single batch to be sure it tasted ok 😀

    • We don’t try every batch. Most of the recipes we’ve been making for so long that we immediately know if it’s right. New recipes, we always taste. That way we know whether we should make it again. Really, when you spend that much time baking, you get a little tired of looking at them 🙂

  3. Lynn Kelley says:

    “This is about friendship and love and sharing,” I love this. I think it’s wonderful that you and your best friend have kept up this tradition for all these years. What wonderful memories you’ve made together. I used to bake tons of cookies and give them as gifts, but I seldom bake anymore. When I bake, I think I eat half the dough as I work. Sometimes the dough tastes better to me than the baked cookies, especially the chocolate chip dough! That’s quite a spread of goodies in the picture. If I give you my address, can you mail me some? JK! I can see how people would be disappointed they won’t be getting your cookies anymore!

  4. Christmas is the only time I bake. I remember it was the only time my grandmother baked too. Now if only I could find her recipes…