Though somewhat hokey, participation in a Christmas Cookie Exchange has been an annual, seasonal ritual of mine for some 6 or 7 years now. The numbers varied year to year but at its peak, my holiday bakers numbered about 14 women. Depending on the total number of confirmed bakers, each person bakes that many dozen identical [Okay, maybe not always so “identical”] cookies or sweet treats, bundles up each dozen for easy distribution, and joins myself and the others for a morning of coffee, conversation and communal sampling at my house. Each may arrive with 10 dozen or so of the same goods, but leaves with 9 different dozen.
Sadly, it appears my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange has baked its last. The numbers dwindled to 7 or 8 last year. In my usual round up this year, I had only 2 confirmed authentically enthusiastic eager beavers. While the gathering coffee hour was great fun, it was, quite honestly, the culmination of hours of hard work – which evidently none of us seem to have any longer. It’s probably my own fault as I left it too late and everyone was already scrambling to meet other Christmas deadlines. This exchange is best done in early December.
I am lamenting the loss of a quickly assembled impressive dessert tray for holiday guests, for sure, but am much more mournful of the loss of the pre-Christmas social gathering over coffee and cookies. Some of these women I will see at other social events, at other parties, but many I will not and used this occasion to get caught up on stories of new jobs, husbands, kids, Christmas cookie disasters and re-dos, and other important family stuff. As hostess of such a fun event, I have been the recipient of many a holiday cookie platter. Sadly, those platters will likely be adorned with store bought goodies. Sure to be tasty, but lacking the storytelling. So next year, even if no one can bake, I vow to make sure the coffee hour takes place – the birth of yet another tradition! Of course, if you feel the urge to bring along a few cookies, I won’t stop you!