For our first Christmas in Brazil, my mom spent hours crafting whimsical Christmas ornaments out of felt–today, our living room tree is adorned with rosy-cheeked angels, monogrammed miniature stockings, and gingham doves. Mom adored Christmas time and derived great joy from capturing the spirit of the season in various art forms. (She was also probably trying to outsmart my toddler curiosity, lest I be tempted to pop a glass bulb or two in my mouth like my predecessors (not mentioning any names, AHEM, Aunt Gwen).)
My mother also baked sugar cookies–the soft, buttery kind that make the aroma of vanilla seep into your every pore. I tried my hand at her recipe for the first time this year, and we (foolishly) planned a cookie decorating party in the days leading up to Christmas. We invited almost 20 people, and ended up hosting three attendees. But that just meant a delightfully intimate gathering–and more frosted goodness for me, and more for our neighbors at the senior living center down the street. Even better, our youngest guest made ninja elf cookies, and regaled us with tales of his latest lost tooth. (In case you’re wondering, he found it in a slice of pepperoni and mushroom pizza while watching Home Alone.) Let me break that down for you: Ninja. Elf. Cookie. So much happy in about four sweet bites.
Three guests made a respectable but minimal dent in our mound of cookies, so Kenny and I stayed up late giving life and fashion cred to dozens of naked gingerbread men. Little-known fact about Kenny: he can identify almost any national flag–and can also recreate the D.C. flag with frosting. Well-known fact about me: I eat one cookie for every two decorated.
This year, we’re grateful for cookies. We’re grateful for steady employment and taco breakfast reunions and emoticons. We hold tight to tender Christmas memories and bid sayonara to the burden of resentment. (Kenny, I’m reeeeally sorry I ate your leftover Indian food. Four years ago. Before we got married.) We’re ever-grateful for your friendship, your palpable long-distance hugs, and your Goldilocks-titrated wit that shows just how much you get that life is…well, life.
Wishing you peace, joy, and, of course, cookies.