A family tradition

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On Sunday afternoon, two days before Christmas, two daughters, one granddaughter, and I got together to bake Christmas cookies, a family tradition that for me goes w-a-a-a-y back to when I was a child. Many years ago (mid-20th century), Christmas cards, cookies, caroling for neighbors, and a candlelight worship service on Christmas Eve were traditional holiday events for our family.  Special cookies…huge tins filled with them, provided enough sweet treats for all to enjoy over the holiday visit. My sisters and I, along with our families, would drive back to our parents’ home in southeastern Pennsylvania. There we celebrated Christmas together, singing, worshiping, baking, sharing stories, and more. We were very blessed, and we knew it. It was part of the glue that held our family together, despite the many miles that separated us.

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My childhood home

If that sounds like I’m getting old, I’ll claim the years, and, along with the years, I’ll claim the many warm and wonderful memories…and give thanks for them. Bob and I still exchange holiday cards, attend candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and last week I joined members and friends of our church choir as we went caroling for guests at local nursing homes, giving each guest a teddy bear as evidence of the love we want them to feel.

 

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Choir & friends
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Cathy’s mom with her teddy bears

However, cookie tins filled with special cookies, most of them baked only at Christmas time, was our mother’s tradition, a tradition we had dropped from our busy schedules when our parents passed on, and the family home was sold. Now my sisters are gone and none of our  children live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I am left with the precious memories of those Christmas trips to southeastern Pennsylvania and a few niggling questions:

Why did we ever stop our Christmas baking? Overly diet conscious? Busy lives? Too much shopping and wrapping? Mixed up priorities?  Whatever were we thinking? A revival of the tins-full-of-cookies-tradition was long overdue! Two years ago, Becky and Alison decided to revive it, and this week we all had a wonderful time during our second annual cookie baking session, and, as a bonus, we each went home with a tin of cookies! Granddaughter Emmy was the force behind this year’s baking session, and her Aunt Becky provided the kitchen, as well as the two dogs who kept their eyes (and noses) on the proceedings. I had a great time taking photos. Take a look!

Do you have a special holiday-time tradition? One that is the glue that holds you and your family and friends together? If you do, please tell us about it in the comments, but if your special tradition needs a revival, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~Trail Walker

Baking Christmas cookies

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Baking cookies (and eating them) is a time-honored tradition in our home during the holiday season. What would the holiday be like without tons of cookies stored in tins, waiting to be consumed by family and friends? That at least was my mother’s conviction when preparing for the holiday. She was fortunate to have a large pantry off the kitchen with enough space for many cookie tins. During the weeks preceding Christmas, in anticipation of family and friends descending on her kitchen, she would marshal her baking supplies, fill the pantry and refrigerator with fresh ingredients, and rally some friends to help her with a big baking blitz.

This year, my daughters Becky and Alison decided to carry on the tradition, and Becky, Alison, granddaughter Emmy, and I gathered at Becky’s home the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and said, “Let the baking commence!”  Guaranteed to make a cookie-lover drool, here are a few pictures of the bake-a-thon.

Max, one of the resident dogs, was not too happy to be restricted to his kennel in the corner of the kitchen, where he could only observe the fun. His expression says that he would much rather be “helping.”

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Why can’t I help?
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When do I get to taste a cookie?

An occasional glance out the window convinced us that this was the perfect day to be indoors, enjoying the scent of freshly baked cookies seasoned with conversation, laughter, and fun: essential ingredients for baking cookies to share with the people you love.

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Outside, Lake Erie was chilly and dreary.

That’s it for this memory-making holiday event. It would have been extra fun to have our third daughter and other grandchildren join us, but they all live too far away to pop in for a Saturday afternoon baking session.

Thank you for popping in though.
Sharing the fun makes it extra special.
See you soon.
Trail Walker
PS: No trail walking was done today!

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