Not So Perfect Holiday Cookies

Well, it’s Sunday morning – the first Sunday morning of December.  I feel like my life suddenly has been put on one of those merry-go-rounds at the park, and I’m already tired of holding onto the cold bars.  I feel my feet sliding out from underneath me, and the next thing I expect is for my feet to be flying to the wind like a hurricane is blowing in.

Christmas is approaching – quickly!

Yesterday I had planned to do some holiday appreciation baking.  I spent the previous week looking for recipes to make.  They were all complete with beautiful pictures, and I could see them all lined up on the plate that I would present.  Festive, delicious and so appreciated.

Instead of staying home and really diving into this goal, I decided to go to see my niece play basketball at her college.  My husband had contemplated going, and I thought we should go.  Time passes so quickly, and soon she will have no games to attend.  We made the slippery drive north to see the game, sat with my brother and his wife, my sister and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend.  It was a good time. And she won!!  She was thrilled that we were in attendance for a victory!

Arriving home late afternoon, I opened the frig and spied a carton of Ricotta cheese.  I remembered making Ricotta cookies several years back, and they had been delicious.  Well, that was an idea, right?  Why not make a cookie that you had made before and knew tasted wonderful?  Forget all those recipes you emailed to yourself.  So I started in on the task.  Sadly, each time the cookies were lifted off the cooling rack or the wax paper, the bottoms were falling out.  How was I going to ice them and present them if they were too flimsy?  I tried baking them longer, then tried making them smaller – all the while, my husband and son were gobbling down the failures and groaning with the pleasure I was supplying their taste buds.

I was excited that they were as delicious as I had remembered, but that still left the question – were they give-able?  I thought of the many gift cookie trays that I had been presented with over the years, and I had to admit to myself that if the cookie wasn’t pretty, I didn’t try it.  Presentation is everything, right?

I finished baking the cookies, put them in plastic sealed containers and collapsed on the couch to knit myself to sleep.

I awoke this morning feeling rather panic stricken.  The snow is fluttering down almost like a Christmas kiss.  If I could clear away this fog of Christmas self-induced fear of failure of expectations, I might actually get to enjoy it.

As I stir up some Lumberjack Pancakes, I sort things out in my mind.  I think of the significant dates ahead.  What will I need for each date?  Grabbing a pad of paper from the drawer, and my favorite blue pen, I start by listing the dates – leaving enough room under them to list things.

Under each date, I list the food I would like to serve.  I find my shoulders relaxing.  I don’t have to try to keep that on the “remember list” in the corner of my mind anymore.  I have freed up a little space, releasing a little of the pressure.  I remember that I may or may not have more guests on Christmas Day than  I had planned for. There may be some impromtu arrivals.  The pressure starts to build, and I remind myself that to just plan for what I know and let the rest fall into place.

I decide to continue on with the Ricotta Cookie plan.  Who cares if they are not perfect, right?  I’ll slather them with icing.  Let sugar seduce the recipients.  And I’ll make a double batch of dough for my son’s favorite cookies, Peanut Blossoms.  I’ll divide it in half and make some of those for the tray and freeze the rest for Christmas Day.  They always turn out great, and they look great, too.  Add the Scotcheroos that I made yesterday, and I have a trio of yummy treats that whether they are enjoyed or appreciated or not, I have done my part.

I’m now ahead of the Holiday game, right?  I have a plan.  I will have frozen cookie dough by the end of this day.  I’ve already wrapped all the gifts I have purchased; my house is already decorated.  I have many of the holiday grocery requirements already waiting in the cupboards.

I guess the main thing I need is to remember to man the pressure valve.  Tell Type A to give it a rest, and just enjoy being with loved ones.   The holidays can really lay on the obligations.  And I am a sucker for taking them on.  So this year, I will take my not so perfect self, along with my not so perfect cookies, to the table.  And when it is all said and done, if it is my imperfections that were remembered, then those people didn’t deserve the best part of me, anyway.

I look forward to spending time with my family, walking in the snow, gathering in warm kitchens and exchanging gifts of love.  That’s what its all about.




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