Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This doesn't look like much. But that's magic right there.

As I began to make my annual holiday kitchen mess this year, I cranked the Christmas tunes, rolled up my pajama sleeves (which was really just the shirt I wore the day before) & then proceeded to whip up a batch of sugar cookie dough. It's the same recipe my mom used when I was a kid. It's a recipe from a 1960's cookbook that my mom & dad received as a wedding present from a relative, so long ago. And some of my all-time favorite memories center around this exact concoction of shortening & flour & sugar & vanilla & other stuff.  

Decorating Christmas cookies as a kid with my mom, dad, brother & sister was the best!! Every year my mom recruited the help of her family to frost & decorate oodles & dozens of these cookies. She really didn't have to do any convincing or pleading. We all willingly jumped into action, licking the icing off of our fingers as we went along. I can still see the cookie cutters she used. There was a snowman & a gingerbread guy, an angel, a dove, & even a circular biscuit cutter. The mess was always epic. And so were the memories. 

My daughters are now 8 & 10 years old. And every year I have continued the tradition of making & decorating Christmas cookies with them. I understand why my mom needed help. It's a lot of work. And I bet she was grateful & quietly pleased when eager hands volunteered their assistance. That's exactly how I feel every year. 
Although, unlike my mother, I am on finger-licking patrol. That just grosses me out.

Sometimes we get fancy with our decorating. Other times we toss red hots & jimmies like they're going out of style. But the whole time we are together, & things are happy. 
I stop & make Zoey & Pazely wash their hands several times during the process, but, still, things are happy. 
*Stop licking your fingers!!*

Now that her kids are all grown up & moved out, (some of us very far away *sniff, sniff*), with families of their own, my mom doesn't always make her sugar cookies every Christmas. It's too much to do by herself. (But I have heard she enlists the help of my dad & 90-year-old grandmother on occasion.) 
I am happy & honored to continue the tradition. This perpetual routine has become ceremony. Something so powerful as this ritual, has become my heritage. And because of this, my mother has given me an inheritance of memories.
If a ball of dough can do that then, yep, it's magic.


  1. I whole heartily agree with the magic of sugar cookie dough! I use the same recipe my parents used with me- but our tradition was to make pumpkin shaped cookies and decorate them around Halloween...I can smell them cooking right now...sweet memories.

  2. It is magic and memories - I remember the year we did pinwheel cookies! OMG that was magical. Rolling them up, slicing them, carefully placing them on the cookie sheets. And when they came out of the oven, somehow! the cookies were solid!


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