“Christmas cookies without sprinkles are like raisins without wrinkles, and like sleigh bells without tinkles.”

My heat is blasting, a sure sign colder weather is here, but it’s the wind which is making the day feel so much colder than the 41° on the thermometer. It reaches right down to the bones and is strong enough to sway the trunks of pine trees. Gracie is staying closer to home and the couch. The outside hasn’t the same appeal it did for the last few weeks.

Yesterday it poured all day. I went off cape to a Christmas play and then to a really late lunch. The play and lunch or dinner are a tradition we’ve had for a long time. It would be the three of us: my mother, my sister and me. One year my mother treated us to The Death of a Salesman with Brian Dennehy. Afterwards we thanked her for the cheery choice of a play for the holidays. Now my sister and I go to a play. It’s one of my Christmas presents to her and it keeps the tradition alive. Before I dropped her home, we did a mini-light ride. It’s amazing how many houses are bright with lights this year. We oohed and ahhed as we rode up and down the streets. I got home around 8:30. It was a long but fun day.

I have my schedule all set up for Christmas. It starts tonight with Christmas card night. The cards came in the mail the other day, and I vowed they’d back in the mail by Friday. My list of ingredients for Christmas goodies is all set, and I have plenty of wrapping paper and ribbon for the gifts. I have a few more gifts to buy; some are for my friends but others will be sent right to Colorado. I need some stocking stuffers so I’ll take a day to do that then treat myself to lunch, in commemoration of the season of course.

My sister still makes sugar cookies. I used to but haven’t in a long while. Her grandson helps her to decorate them. We used to do that: spend a whole afternoon decorating the ones my mother had made. She’d cut them out using her old aluminum cookies cutters:  Santa, an angel, a bell, a reindeer and a tree. Both my sister and I have found those same figures in the old aluminum. They are the connection to our childhood and my mother.

I remember heavy cookies laden with frosting, and I remember green frosting the most. We were creative frosters. The trees had lights and ornaments, sprinkles mostly. Santa was tricky to decorate with his red suit, white beard and dark boots. Actually, there were no boots; we just iced them in as we couldn’t imagine a Santa without his boots.

Even when I was an adult with my own house, my mother and I would spend a day baking together. When the cookies were cooled, we’d put on the Christmas music and sit around the table to decorate them and to chat. It was always one of my favorite parts of Christmas and is still a cherished memory.

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16 Comments on ““Christmas cookies without sprinkles are like raisins without wrinkles, and like sleigh bells without tinkles.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    I once had a neighbor that baked sugar cookies before christmas every year. She made huge box for them and one just as huge to me :-) :-) But they were never decorated, neither was the ones my grandmother made. Come to think of it, we are really lousy when it comes to any kind of decoration over here :-)

    But this year I actually will decorate with lights outsdie. But I only get depressed when I think of the start of this new tradition of mine :-) Everything has gone wrong in many ways :-) I wrote about it in my blog today :-) But I will do it anyway :-)

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • Kat Says:

      Christer,
      I’d love that neighbor, but my friend Clare does always give me a plateful of her cookies so I can’t complain too much.

      Decorating the sugar cookies was the most fun!

      I haven’t read you yet today so I’ll check on your light fiasco when I finish here.

      The lights are a wonderful tradition.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Cold and windy up here, too. But sunny. Rocky is out on the front porch in the sunny chair checking out the neighborhood. The porch is glassed in and faces south so it is probably warmer out there than it is in here at the moment.
    I have a couple of parties coming up next week so I will be baking some stuff. My cards are done. And, more importantly, mailed. :-) The door wreath is up. The tree is still in the box. I’ll get to it eventually. I have some Christmas knitting to do and a few gifts to buy. No pressure. :-)
    Enjoy your day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Gracie would be more than happy to koin Rocky though I think the cats would be even happier than Gracie. They love to lie in the sun.

      My list is here, the cards are on the table, and I’ll start and finish right after dinner. Off they’ll go tomorrow.

      No parties on my dance card! My tree is amazing!

  3. meredithlibrary Says:

    Kat,

    I have a bunch of your mother’s old cutters. She gave some to me one year. I think one year you teased me when I bit off Santa’s cookie head that he wouldn’t bring me anything. It’s bad news to jinx yourself like that so close to the big day and I still avoid Santa cookies. ;) I think of many happy memories with your family when I look at them. I have a picture of us sitting on the couch at Christmas with cookies. Mine is likely heavily frosted while yours is perfectly decorated. I’ll see if I can dig it up!

    Love,
    Erin

    • Kat Says:

      Erin,
      I’d love to see those pictures if you can find them.

      I remember when we, Sheila, Moe and I, took you to see the lights one Christmas Eve. You were probably around 4 or 5. We were having a great time when suddenly you scream and yelled, “Santa’s here, and I’m not asleep. I won’t get any toys!” You mistook the lights of a plane for Santa’s sleigh. We reassured you and you settled right down to watch the lights.

      You also got toys that Christmas!

      • meredithlibrary Says:

        I think I remember that. Was that after a horrible night with my father’s girlfriend Sue? Didn’t you all come rescue me? She didn’t allow me to decorate her tree. All the ornaments had to be just so. Dad certainly knew how to pick ‘em! Thank God for the Ryans. :)

  4. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat, The one thing I love about the holidays is the variety of sweets. I can eat any kind of cookies, candy or anything else that’s not healthy. Everyone tells me that you can substitute the sugar with various other low calorie products including the new Stevia. Just like decaffeinated coffee, I can tell the difference.

    During the eight nights of Chanukah it’s traditional to eat things that are fried. They represent the one day’s pure oil that burned in the Temple in Jerusalem for eight days after the Assyrian Greeks defiled the place. It took them eight days to make more pure oil. This has led to the eating of potato pancakes. My family emigrated from Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century and they ate them at Chanukah time. I love the Israeli custom of eating jelly doughnuts called Sufganiot in Hebrew. They come from the Jews of the middle east who would fry filled dough in the Turkish tradition at Chanukah.

    Eastern European Jews would give the kids milk chocolate wrapped in gold and silver foil to represent coins. I still love to open the foil and eat them until I am nearly sick.

    Tomorrow morning I am headed to Zhuhai China for business. I am interested in how they celebrate the holidays. I will be spending a couple of days in Hong Kong before returning. I will keep reading your blog and let you know what’s going on in China if it’s not blocked.

    • Kat Says:

      Bob,
      I’m with you on the sweets. We all seem to have our favorites and our specialities. My family demands my English toffee and one sister said it wouldn’t be Christmas without my fudge. Another sister makees the whoopie pies, but she’s too far away for me to get a few so I’ll make some this year. We have a recipe we’ve been using for eons.

      I love potato pancakes, and I’d never turn down a jelly donut. I used to make potato pancakes a lot and haven’t for a long while-thanks for the memory!

      Every year we’d get chocolate foiled coins in our stockings. They were encased in gold. One year my mother bought Chanukah coins by mistake. It became a family tradition after that.

      I hope all goes well in China. Travel safe!

      • Bob Says:

        It may not be an old tradition, but many jewish families enjoy Chinese food on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

  5. Zoey & Me Says:

    I remember those aluminum cookie cutters. I always wanted my mom to make more of the snow flakes because when baked they had hard tips, also the stars did that too but that was mostly used year ’round. My Mother was a great cook but it was a special event for her to bake. She took her olive loaf recipe to the grave.

    • Kat Says:

      Z&Me,
      I think the problem with the snow flakes was that they were sometimes difficult to keep intact after removing the cookie cutter from the dough. Those tips were delicate.

      My mother baked mostly around the holidays. My sister bakes all the time. I used to as well, but now I’m more of a holiday baker.

      I’m sorry about that olive loaf. I bet if you went hunting on-line you’d find something quite similar.

  6. Kat Says:

    Bob,
    I didn’t know about the Chinese food tradition. Do you know the scene in A Christmas Story at the Chinese restaurant?I love it and the whole movie.

  7. Kat Says:

    Erin,
    We did rescue you from her. She and her son were both beastie!


  8. I remember more the pies my Mom would make — blueberry, apple, pumpkin. Of course, from scratch including the crust. I take after her in that regard — loving to bake. However, my crust doesn’t look as pretty as hers did but it sure tastes good!

    • katry Says:

      Anita,
      I always bake pies from scratch too though I do admit I get really frustrated by the crust. I’m thinking taste is more importance than appearance. My dad loved apple. I was a huge fan of lemon meringue and blueberry. Pumpkin was always for Halloween.

      This time of year it’s date nut bread, cookies and candies.


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