Traditions are wonderful. I always loved decorating cookies at Christmas with my bothers and sisters. I can remember that my Mother would work very hard creaming the butter by hand, and slowly adding the sifted powdered sugar, until it would make a sweet creamy batter, after adding the egg, flour, vanilla, she would then chill it down in the refrigerator, which made a dough that was perfect for rolling out with a rolling pin to be cut into all sorts of fun shapes of different kinds. Then, after baking for only 5 minutes in the hot oven, they were cooled, and the whole family would sit around the dinning room table and spend hours decorating them with bowls of colored butter creme frosting and sprinkles. We were only allowed to eat a few of them each day before Christmas, savoring every bite, because we knew we would not have them again for another year.
Now my Mother has gone on, but a few years before she died, I started the tradition again at my home. I invite my sisters, friends and neighbors over for a glass or two of spiked eggnog, and this year I made a delicious Turkey Tortilla Soup, that we each had a bowl of, while we worked. I could hear my Mothers voice in my mind admonishing me as I worked on the cookie baking, “Sprinkle more flour on the board before rolling out the dough, Sharon, and put some on the rolling pin too!” Christmas movies, such as, “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart played in the background, as well as others, “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase, and “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby . “Watch the cookies!” I heard her say again, “They burn so easily!” Although it was almost 70 degrees outside, it felt almost like the Christmas seasons I remember as a child on Grand Island, New York, at this, my house now, close to the Kentucky border of middle Tennessee, 50 years later.
These traditions, that allow us to remember our past, show us that our future can have the same wonderful joy-filled moments if we bring them with us into the present.
My gift to you this Christmas season is the recipe, written in my Mothers hand, for the Christmas cookies that I have enjoyed sharing and making with friends and family all these years. May your own traditions bring you as many joy filled moments as these continue to for me!