By Dawne

On Sunday, December 14th, I joined with the women in my family for our annual “Cookie Day.” This has been an on-again, off-again tradition in my immediate family for many years. When I was a child, my paternal grandmother and her four daughters-in-law would gather on a Saturday in early December for and have a day-long marathon cookie-baking session.

As far as I know, Cookie Day began with my grandmother, but I guess I don’t know that for sure. Maybe she baked cookies with her mother. I wish I’d known to ask. Grandma died just two years before I became obsessed with this wonderful … ahem, “hobby” of ours.

Cookies weren’t the only goodie Grandma, Mom, and her sisters-in-law produced on Cookie Day, either. There was smooth chocolate fudge, with and without nuts, and popcorn balls made with Karo Syrup tinted red and green. And I think there were sweet breads among the day’s products as well. The women made hundreds, probably thousands, of cookies. Each one took some home, and the rest were put in containers and stored on the large, unheated glassed-in porch on the side of my grandparents’ house. Periodically during the season, when guests were expected, or just when the selection at-hand grew sparse, a grandchild was sent to the porch with a large plate to gather a few cookies of each type from the containers to bring back in to replenish the stash in the house.

A highlight for many of the 13 grandchildren of the family was our contribution to Cookie Day – frosting and decorating the cut-out sugar cookies. Of course this was frosting made with confectioners’ sugar and tinted with food coloring, not purchased pre-made in container like I do now to save time.

Mom revived Cookie Day several years ago when she, my sister, my sister-in-law and I all ended up living in close enough proximity to make it possible. At its rebirth, it was much like the older version – we gathered and baked as many varieties of cookies as we could in one day. But our tradition has since evolved into a new one. Over the years we discovered that, even more than the cookie-baking, we enjoyed the visiting and the laughing that we did on Cookie Day. So now we all bake some cookies in advance, and we gather on Cookie Day to have lunch together and have a cookie exchange instead. It makes for a hustle-bustle-rush ahead of time to get the cookies finished, but on the actual Cookie Day, we can slow down and take our time to enjoy one another’s company and reminisce.

Do you have holiday traditions that are dear to your family? Of course you do. Are there some that have evolved over the years? Have you written about these special family events and memories so that future generations will know about them? Traditions that span the years and the generations are the cords that bind our families together. I encourage you to write about your family traditions. This is a wonderful season to do so – when the memories of holidays past and the loved ones with whom we shared them feel close.

Recently Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, wrote a blog post about a different kind of holiday memory. Here’s a link to her post for additional inspiration.