Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Cookies

I lived with my sister, Caryl, the first Christmas after her husband died. Nothing was going to make that year better for my niece, Kellie, and nephews, Kenny and Lenny, but I did everything I could to keep some cheer in their lives. I often packed their school lunches and put special treats in the boxes. That day's treat was often the first thing each child exclaimed about as he or she came through the door at the end of the school day. As is traditional in my family, Christmas found me doing a lot of baking. When I made the rolled and cut sugar cookies, I hit upon the idea of not just decorating them, but painting them and making them trully beautiful. I made buttercream frosting in a half-dozen different colors, and I painted the Christmas trees green with brown trunks and yellow stars. I decorated them in multico;ored sprinkles. Santa's sled was red, the runners were gold, and the presents inside came in many hues. I painted and sprinkled stars, angels, bells, and more -- each with an eye to detail. The house smelled like cookies when the kids came home from school. I gave them undecorated cookies and the left over frosting so they could design their own after school snacks. The cookies I had decorated were hidden. That night, after the kids went to bed I took out the hidden cookies, wrapped them carefully, and placed them with love in each lunch box. The next day I waited anxiously by the door when, Lenny, a kindergartener only in school a half day, was due home. Sure enough, he burst through the door, his face shining with joy. He cried, "Aunt Charlene! Aunt Charlene! Your cookies were the best!" Naturally I beamed with pride. He thrust out one gubby little hand with an ancient yellow yo-yo clasped in his fist, "I traded them for this!" Before my ego completely crumbled I reminded myself that I'd made the cookies to make him happy, and they had obviously been a success. Then he added frosting to my contentment by asking anxiously, "You still have some of them cookies left don't you? Can I have some?"

18 Comments:

Blogger Pauline said...

LOL, you tell the best of stories!

12/22/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

[adopts bestest Sesame Street voice]

Coookiiieee....

:)

12/22/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Cindy said...

they must have been almost too pretty to eat! I don't make good Christmas cutout cookies- they come out like little thin burnt crusts...so, I cheat and make candy instead.

Merry Christmas!

12/22/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Pauline -- thank you.

OC -- iced or plain? Which shape? Sprinkles or not? Milk or hot chocolate? (You may not dip my yummy cookies in your Coke.)

Cindy -- make the cookies fatter, and don't bake them for as long as the recipe says. Leave them just a tiny bit soft in the middle, because they continue to bake a bit even after you take them out of the oven.

12/22/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger betmo said...

lovely story. thank you. happy holidays to you and yours.

12/22/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Betmo! Long time no see! Merry Christmas to you!

12/23/2006 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger charlie said...

What it's like to have a favourite aunt! Theyw ill treasure you, QD

12/23/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Charlie -- those kids are grown and have kids of their own now -- but I am still Auntie Charlene.

12/23/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous cindra said...

OC, you are good at that!

AQ-will you bake me cookies? The last thing I remember having in Gram's kitchen was cauliflower. I adore it. But it's not sugar cookies.

12/23/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Cindra -- if I had a working over I'd pop some in the mail for you right quick. Alas, no oven.

12/23/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous cindra said...

I'll give you a working over if you really want me to. It's gonna hurt though. And I don't know what it has to do with making cookies. You really are an interesting one...

12/23/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

Quilly, the answer is yes. Though toll house, homemade, always top the list. And I don't pollute my cookies. Take 'em straight.

You tryin' to tell me somethin', Cindra?

12/24/2006 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Cindra -- never you mind. You know too many of my embarassing secrets. Here -- have a cookie -- and don't talk while your mouth is full.

OC -- Yes is the exact same way I would have answered that question, and I am partial to Tollhouse, too. I especially like them hot out of the oven while the chocolate is still melty and burning my fingers. As to dipping, I suspected as much ...

12/24/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Cindra -- working oven -- if I had a working oven. [must learn to proof comments before sending ...]

12/24/2006 06:01:00 AM  
Anonymous cindra said...

Damn, and I so wanted to give you a working over...Merry Christmas! Oh, and being me, I always say it wrong and tell my kids not to eat with food in their mouths...goes over well!

OC-well...actually...no. Merry Christmas to you too, cookie monster. Dip on, dude.

12/25/2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Cindra-- yeah, cuz then you have hysterical laughter with food in their mouths -- that milk out the nose stuff is gross!

12/25/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Caryl-Mom-Nana said...

Charlene, the kids (ages 36,37,38)and I were just talking about those cookies yesterday and the ones you made with them out of salt dough and decorated for Christmas tree ornaments. I still have a special few of those that have weathered the past 26 years of storage in various attics, basement and garages! They have so many wonderful memories of their Auntie!! not all children were as lucky as mine! They certainly never lacked for love or attention from any of us. Thanks, it has been great having you in my life. Love Caryl

12/25/2006 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger QuillDancer said...

Caryl -- I love you and I adore your children. As you can tell by the stories on, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead many of my most precious memories revolve around your children.

12/26/2006 07:29:00 AM  

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