It's hard to believe that Christmas is just 4 days away! Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, it's a time for traditions. For those who celebrate Christmas: if you close your eyes and breathe in deeply, and clear your mind, you can probably remember your favorite childhood Christmas memories. I'll bet it doesn't involve a toy or a possession. Most likely, you will recall the fragrant smell of baked goods wafting through the kitchen, or the feelings of anticipation and excitement on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. And that is exactly what your kids and grandkids will remember.
We all work so hard to make Christmas perfect, to make sure Santa gets everything on the kids' lists, to have the tree done up just right, to entertain everyone. All of which is wonderful. But your kids won't remember the perfectly decorated tree or the dozens of gifts they opened. I know what I remember. No matter how busy my grandmother was, she would always make cookies with me. I realized later that my grandmother had a Doctorate in Education, that her advice was highly esteemed and sought after, and that she had a lot more going on than baking cookies. But she would drop everything and get on her apron and make cookies with me and, even if it was from a box, it was fabulous and fun. And she would always let my brother and me lick the spoon. It's one of my favorite Christmas memories from childhood.
The other night, Christian had a hankering for chocholate chip cookies. Usually, that's not a problem because I always keep a giant tub of Pillsbury pre-made dough in the fridge. I was a little off my game because we were just back from Disney and I hadn't done my big Sam's Club shopping trip yet. I had him go check the downstairs refrigerator. He bounded up the steps triumphantly with the tub of dough like he had just made the winning touchdown. "Look, Mom, I found a tub, it feels kind of light though." We peered inside. Talk about disappointment. I had forgotten that I put the turkey fat from Thanksgiving in that tub. Yuck. He looked up at me and said, "it's OK, Mom, don't worry about it."
It had been a long day. I had a lot of Christmas "work" to do. But I knew that my grandmother would say, "Jules, forget your list of things to do. Make them some cookies. They don't even have to taste good." I put on my apron and whipped up a batch of lopsided cookies. Some chocolate chips, some butterscotch chips, whatever I could find. And, of course, I gave them each a big spoon full of dough and a glass of milk. The look on my oldest son's face told me that this was the kind of thing he would rememer. Some day, he would realize how hard it must have been for his mother to be a lawyer and run a business all day, and still be able to make cookies for him. "Thanks, Mom, you're the best," said Christian. "The very best Mommy," said Michael as the two of them sat there watching "The Santa Clause" marathon and licking their spoons.
So many readers wrote in recently for the Holiday contest with their favorite traditions, all of which were lovely, I enjoyed reading them all. For those who celebrate other holidays, like Chanukah, it's also a day of traditions: one Reader wrote in that it was a day their family all went skiing together. For those of you who do celebrate Christmas, I wish you all the Merriest Christmas ever! Always remember the Reason for the Season. If you have kids and or grandkids, please remember to put down your Christmas "work" and get down on the floor to play, or get out and build a snow fort, or do something else together. And if you make cookies, do be sure to let them lick them spoon. If you have a family, a roof over your head, and enough grocery money to buy cookie dough, then you are very rich indeed. Merry Christmas, Everyone! <3 Mrs. Lo (Photo from Disney World's Animal Kingdom, December 2013).