This is my column that ran in The Leaf ( local paper in Birmingham) this month.
Christmas cookies – I am pretty well known for mine. They are not you’re traditional sugar cookie, they are full of butter and spice. Ginger, cinnamon, and cloves turn the dough a deep rich brown and make the house smell amazing as the cookies bake. Just the smell makes me euphoric. Everyone who has ever eaten one says it is the best cookie they have ever tasted; I think they are as well.
Making the cookies has turned into a tradition that has even outgrown family. Now I have so many kids clamoring to bake cookies at my house that this year Jordan and I will do shifts. I have to warn the makers of sugar crystals and edible decorations they need to go into overtime because come the week before Christmas the Watson house will be knee deep in sugar sprinkles of all colors Christmas. There will be kids whose mouths and lips won’t ever be the same color again and whose sugar buzz will last until New Years.
I have several cans of cookie cutters, some for Easter, Halloween, spring and fall, but most of them are for Christmas. The cutters include candy canes, reindeer, Santa, stocking, bells, trees, snowflakes, snowmen, gingerbread men and more. The kid's favorites are trees, bells, and snowflakes. I think those give them the most freedom with their choice of decorations.
This fall as local politicians visited around town, one of them laughed and said “I know who you are, you’re the cookie lady.” It turns out, his niece had been to my house to make cookies this past year. His big complaint, she only gave him one. I promised if she came this year, we would make sure he got more than one cookie.
The past couple of years we have also painted Christmas ornaments for them to take home and hang on their trees. That tradition is growing. This year I have plans for paint and ornaments as well; I just hope the parents remember to send the kids old clothes that are paint-proof. When we painted Halloween pumpkins, there were some incidents…paint in the hair was a biggie and paint on “good” clothes made some parents unhappy. Keep your fingers crossed that these issues are resolved.
I realized when my parents died that old traditions will not always survive; new ones have to be created. Some of the old ones that I cling to, painting each and every Christmas card I send and not putting the tree up until the week before Christmas. I listen to Christmas music starting December 1, and it is not always traditional/radio Christmas music. My favorite Christmas tune is Last Month of the Year and old blues song. Of course, I also am partial to the two Christmas songs that Rick and I wrote.
I hope that this holiday season brings hope and peace to us all.
As my friends in the UK say, “Happy Christmas.”
PS. If you want the recipe, contact me at rickandjilda.com