Let me preface this by saying I love the holidays. Everything from the tree, music, lights, food, and most of all family. I even love Christmas movies. Not just any Christmas movies, but the B-rated ones with bad acting that they play on the Hallmark channel on the weekends. I think my love for this time of year comes from my grandma who I will reference as Nana from here on out, as she is way too cool to be just a grandma.
While our tradition may not be unique, it is one that I hold dear in my memories. My Mom’s side of the family celebrates Christmas with a brunch the Sunday before Christmas day. We gather at my grandparents’ house to eat, exchange gifts, and when it is time to leave, each family is sent home with an assortment of Christmas cookies.
When I was a child I would spend the day before the brunch making dozens of cookies for each family with my Nana. We would make the typical cookies; sugar with icing, peanut butter with a Hershey’s chocolate kiss in the middle (better known as Snickerdoodles), gingerbread, and many others. While the cookies were baking, my grandpa (who I will reference as Papa because he too was way too cool to be just a grandpa) would dance to Santa Claus is Coming to Town and we would play card games at the dining room table. Once the cookies were finished, I would help to decorate and package each family’s favorites for the next day. My Mom likes the mini pecan tarts and my Dad and I love the cranberry cream cheese bars.
It was in my grandparent’s kitchen that I learned to measure flour, mix together ingredients, roll out dough, and decorate these cookies. As the years went by, my family changed. Many cousins were born (I am the oldest), we went away for college, I moved from my home in the Finger Lakes to New Jersey, and last year my Papa passed away. These changes make me appreciate the time spent with my family and the traditions I shared with my grandparents. Since my Papa’s passing my Nana has sold the house, the home I spent my childhood baking cookies in, for a smaller home in a different town. This will be the first year we celebrate our Christmas brunch in her new house. I may not spend the day baking cookies with her anymore but it is a tradition I will take with me when I start a family of my own.