As I always write a week ahead, I must keep note of dates and events which will occur in the future to keep my columns relevant. Sometimes I miss those dates and sometimes I look at the calendar in horror and realize that by the time this article is published it will be Nov. 30th! All things Christmas rush to my frontal lobe and I start to add up all the things I have not done and at the same time, start to get a gushy mix in my heart for decorating and baking.
Nostalgia is an amazing thing, I was at a service station the other day which also does in-house baking. This combination is remarkable to me yet there is a lovely lady who bakes right in the store and she knows what she is doing! The other day she made shortbread cookies with the little cherries on top which looked just like my moms; even down to the fork imprint in the cookie. Try to explain to someone while you are tearing up in a gas station of all places, usually they just sell lighters and sunflower seeds.
There is no time of year that hits me harder for nostalgia than December, it has been a mix of joy and sorrow and some memories I want to draw close and others I need to tuck away. Cookies get me more at this time of year than any tree or decoration. My life long experience with my mom’s Christmas baking stays with me as I remember the aromas coming out of the kitchen as I arrived after school. My mom rivalled any Kebler elf as she baked and baked, the variety and the deliciousness was unparalleled and then they would go into ice cream pails and down to the freezer. Miraculous Christmas moment ended.
These ice cream pails which held the delicious cookies had notes taped to the lid; written in bold and unfriendly black ink which said ‘DO NOT EAT’. That was it, no welcoming message and no happy holidays – just a stern warning that we were to not touch the cookies as they were for company and for closer to the holidays. Baking them late November and storing them within arm’s reach never seemed fair to me and I admit that I ate my share of stolen, frozen cookies in the shadows of the basement, listening for my mom’s footsteps above.
The nostalgia of Christmas cookies is one which makes me miss those moments with my mom, even if I was being a brat and eating the shortbread. For years I enrolled my older sister to make these favorites and it sort of helped to keep the tradition alive as she also packed her delightful discs in ice cream pails but did not tape the warning label on top. Having these pails of cookies in my freezer was a delightful reminder of those days of cookie thievery from my youth.
Now I make my own cookies which is the grown up thing to do but it isn’t nearly as amusing stealing your own cookies. The thrill of getting caught and the delight in mom finding a half empty pail in the freezer (who ate all these? Now I must make more!) makes for amazing memories.
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Realtor/Ask a Designer’.