When I was a child Christmas seemed so miraculous. The ornaments seemed to sparkle more, the lights seemed just a bit brighter and the music of the season seemed more cheerful. As an adult it is so hard to hold on to that magic that I felt when I was a kid.
Now, the holidays can be ridiculously hectic. I cannot honestly say that I have ever had a stress free holiday as an adult. It seems as though there are endless potlucks and holiday parties; the cooking never ends. There is so much cleaning to do before you even attempt to put up a tree. And once the tree is up the living room is crowded with boxes and bags and pine needles and you have to clean it all over again. It becomes an endless chore to keep the cat from attacking the glitter off the bulbs and climbing up the trunk.
Once that chore is tackled you have to wrap gifts, which should be an Olympic sport. Every year my flexibility and agility is put to the test; the bigger the box the harder the chore. The tape sticks to my fingernail polish and strips it right off. I feel as though I may need a blood transfusion from the loss of blood due to all my paper-cuts. I can never get through applying ribbons to more than two packages before that damn cat abandons her attacks on the tree and is under my feet ripping ribbons to shreds.
While we’re on the topic can we talk about gift buying these days? My. Goodness. Christmas has become so commercialized but honestly I’m just as guilty because I like buying things for people. The stores are crowded and hot; I can’t tell whether it’s my poor attitude or if people really are far more irritating around the holidays. And I swear every year there are at least a dozen things on my list that I go home without because apparently Band-Aids and wine are both hot commodities during the holiday season; I wonder why…
Keeping the house clean while other people live in it is hilarious. Typically there is round after round of various visitors and you feel pressure to keep the place looking somewhat decent; there is constantly a mess being made while your back is turned and you’re trying to clean up a different mess that you yourself did not make.
I do not mean to sound like a Grinch and really, it isn’t all bad. Christmas can be so beautiful at least it is in my household. The ground outside is blanketed with snow and the trees in the yard glisten. The tree inside is dazzling with twinkle lights and glitter. The stockings my mother knitted are hung up on the fireplace. The presents that survived the feline ambush are wrapped and under the tree. There has been an endless supply of Christmas movies playing on the television. And the delicious scent of cookies baking has been wafting from the kitchen.
My paternal grandmother makes the absolute best sugar cookies. This year she called me up and asked me if I would like to make cookies with her. Since losing my maternal grandmother in September I find myself craving grandmotherly love and I immediately said yes. Especially since she made cookies with all her granddaughters except me the weekend prior when I had to be at work.
When I allowed my heart to be light and sink into the moment with my grandma it really started to feel like Christmas. I felt a deep appreciation toward my mother and my grandmothers when I realized that they were the ones dealing with all the stress of making Christmas magical for my brothers and me when we were little, especially my mom. And knowing that they loved us enough to endure the chaos every year made the holiday a little bit sweeter for me, almost as sweet as Grandma V’s sugar cookies.
Whatever your holiday traditions may be and however you and yours spend your time together this holiday season, I hope it is filled with love and laughter. I hope that you do not allow the pressure of gift buying and cooking and cleaning to weigh you down too severely. Afterall Christmas is about so much more than any of that.
To anyone out there who actually tunes in to my little rants every week I appreciate you and I hope your year’s end is magical and special and that you have an even brighter year ahead of you. My gift to all of you this holiday season…
GRANDMA V’S SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
½ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1 Cup Butter (softened)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar together. Then mix butter into the flour mixture and set it aside. Beat the eggs until they are frothy and then add the vanilla. Pour that mixture over the flour mixture, mixing until well combined. Cover the cookie dough and let it set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
In small handfuls roll out your dough with a rolling-pin coated with flour. Use cookie cutters of your choosing to create your cookies. Bake the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes.