My daughter Noelle was not pleased that I planned to host a cookie-decorating party and write about it — without asking her first.
“I can’t believe you’re hijacking my holiday tradition to put in the magazine!”
Because her birthday falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we usually celebrate by decorating holiday cookies. At first it was a family activity, and eventually a changing roster of friends joined the annual flour fest.
She perked up once I explained that she could be the host and chief cookie baker – and that she could be in the photos. You can see her in “Let the Good Times Roll,” starting on page 45.
But the idea of “her tradition” lingered longer than her annoyance. I couldn’t stop wondering, when had it become “hers”? What if I’m not ready to give up “my” tradition?
Throughout my childhood, holiday gatherings meant cookie-baking with my cousins. With up to 10 grandchildren at her house, I’m sure my grandmother was grateful for a relatively calm activity that was appropriate for a range of ages.
When we had our own families, my cousins and I inherited the tradition and some of my grandmother’s cookie cutters. Shortly after Thanksgiving, each of us would mix up huge batches of dough and let the sprinkles fall where they may. For years, we have traded photos over Facebook of another generation laughing over lop-sided snowmen and decapitated gingerbread boys.
And even though my children aren’t kids anymore, I love attacking several batches of dough with them, armed with rolling pins and icing bags. The cookies are beside the point, as we giggle over old jokes and new decorating techniques.
Somewhere in my brain, I know this annual activity will change, whether I like it or not. Noelle will head to college next fall, and this might be the last year we decorate cookies in the same way.
So, I’ll share my tradition, and I’ll box up a few cookie cutters for each of my two girls. But I’m not giving them all up. I’m betting that one day there will be another generation of bakers, clamoring to make gingerbread people.
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