Cookie monster

I used to make cookies for Christmas. Lots of cookies. Pardon me, but lots and lots of cookies. I don’t believe in freezing cookies (don’t ask me why), so I would make these mountains of cookies very close to Christmas. And I don’t believe in storing them together in containers or on trays, so the mountains of cookies were in mountains of separate containers, piled up on the basement workbench—which is where everyone’s cookies belong, right?

I kind of hate giving Christmas gifts—not because I’m stingy, but because over the years I’ve had more and more trouble figuring out what in the world all of us already overstuffed Americans really want, need, can use, or will find under the growing masses of stuff we’ve already got. So for a while I gave cookies. I’d make a list of all the people I give to, then figure out what cookie in my repertoire suited that person the best, and then I’d give each person his or her own bag of a dozen and a half baked-with-love, hand-packed, ribbon-tied treats.

Once I even brought a tray of my cookies to a holiday dinner party. And do you know how many disappeared that magical night? None at all.

For me, this was a most troubling development. I’m the kind of girl who is suspicious of kids who turn down cake and ice cream. I’m also the kind of girl who can barely resist a cookie, even if it tastes bad. So for me, having tray of my homemade cookies sitting on the dessert buffet staring up at me, untouched, made me feel like sweet, normal Marilyn Munster being rejected, evicted, and kicked out on her butt by Aunt Lily and Uncle Herman.

So, needless to say, I stopped making cookies. At least I stopped for a year, then went through a period of withdrawal, to the point that last Christmas I packed all of my cookie ingredients in a travel bag and dragged them to my mother-in-law’s house, where, on the day after Christmas, I baked like 12 dozen cookies, none of which I was planning on eating. Let me tell you, I enjoyed every freaking minute of it.

This year, I find myself at a crossroads. I wonder, shall I bake, or not? If I do, shall I give, or not? On my way to a party shall I bring a savory (a stretch) or a sweet (my specialty)? I don’t know.

What I do know is that Jocelyn, the lovely volunteer director for my daughter’s drama class will be receiving a thank you gift from me tomorrow night, consisting of a Polish pottery platter with a bag of Betty Crocker Gingerbread cookie baking mix lovingly glue dotted to its center. A cookie compromise? Yes. But I figure, she’s a big girl. She can handle it.

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11 Comments

  1. memyselfandotherthings said,

    December 2, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    You need my address so you can send me those cookies…:)

  2. Cheryl said,

    December 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    You are so nice to me!

  3. Monica said,

    December 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    If I don’t bake at least one type of cookie for Christmas I feel deprived. 🙂 One of my favorite things to partake in this time of year is a cookie swap. I enjoy getting my Aunt Eileen’s Buckeye balls (which are more of a candy) which she does mail to us if she won’t see us and if my mother doesn’t bake and frost her Christmas sugar cookie cutouts (which we used to help her make when we lived at home) or her Raspberry kiss meringues, all heck will break loose with myself and my sister. 🙂 So I say bake what you’d like, Cheryl! I’d be happy to help taste your yummy treats too. 🙂

    • scheirmad said,

      December 6, 2009 at 6:50 am

      Thanks for the encouragement! You know, yesterday I made a new recipe for a get-together–Cranberry Upside Down Cake. I liked the idea of it because it’s cranberry (which I love), and it’s red (which breaks up all the beige and brown in my normal repertoire. Anyway, when I asked one of the tasters how it was, he said, “It’s tart!” and then he made a face to demonstrate how tart it was! Well, thank heaven for other guests who said, “I like tart!” and reassured me, “He didn’t say TOO tart, just tart.”

      Someday soon I will stop being so insecure!

      By the way, I really enjoy Buckeyes! Do you have a recipe?

      • Monica said,

        December 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

        Just received my aunt’s Buckeyes in the mail. I’ll have to e-mail her and ask for the recipe.

  4. Lorraine said,

    December 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    All hail to the Christmas cookie! All I can say is that Dieter wasn’t at your Christmas dinner because if he had been you would have taken home an empty plate!
    I’m sitting here with visions of Christmas past flashing past …when our children were younger (and life was less complicated) our church group would bake hundreds of biscuits ( that’s Aussie for cookies!), we’d ask for and get donations of biscuits from church members. Then we’d -kids and parents- would meet together and make up little bags of biscuits with a tag that said “Merry Christmas from the children of St Finbars church”. Getting to eat the left over and broken bits rated highly with kids!
    The kids would then dress up – some years Mary and Joseph even had a real baby- and we would visit local nursing homes. There would be carol singing and liturgical dance and giving out of the gifts. There were quite a few sets of government units for the independent elderly in the area so we’d go and knock on doors and sing carols. One lady told the kids she was 85 years old and their biscuits were the first gift she’d ever received!
    Cheryl, you go girl – you just can’t have a Christmas without biscuits er cookies….

    • scheirmad said,

      December 6, 2009 at 6:54 am

      Lorraine, I can always count on you for a positive spin! Thanks so much!!

      One of our family traditions is to go Christmas caroling with our church. While some people go to the nursing homes, we like to take on the shut-ins. It’s a wild night of zipping around town, trying to figure out where exactly you’re going, but it’s fun and a nice visit from the outside world for some very lovely people whom we rarely see! This year, maybe cookies are in order!!!

  5. Emily said,

    December 3, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    You actually said “freaking.” Cool.

    • scheirmad said,

      December 6, 2009 at 6:55 am

      If that qualifies as cool, then I’ll take it!

  6. Alisa said,

    February 4, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Polish pottery and cookies sound like the perfect combo!

  7. scheirmad said,

    February 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for chiming in Alisa! I just checked out the North Star website (http://northstar-treasures.com for those of you reading), and I think that if anyone would know about the potential of Polish pottery, then it would be you!

    I’ll be sure to check out North Star when I have the urge to pick up another piece. I so much enjoyed reading the story of you and your business–loved the pictures especially!!


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