If you follow me on social media you probably saw all the cookies. Everyday (except Sundays) from December 1 to Christmas Eve I baked a batch of cookies. I did this last year using the Advent Cookie Cookbook and found it surprisingly comforting. I wanted to try it again this year but couldn’t find a similar Advent style cookbook so I created my own list using The Perfect Cookie by America’s Test Kitchen.
Most people want to know what in the world I did with all of those cookies. No, I did not eat mountains of cookies all month long. I limited myself to one or two per day. Surprisingly, most of them made it out the door to other people. Several would go into the boy’s lunchboxes to share with friends. Many went to church choir rehearsal where my fellow musicians enjoyed them. Each time a repair person was at my house (which felt like a lot) they were sent away with a bag of cookies as part of their payment. The staff and teachers at the school where I work part-part time got individually wrapped cookies to enjoy after a long day attempting to educate snotty-nosed kids. Family and neighbors were the most used taste-testers. So, for the most part, anyone who crossed my path received cookies.
So what did I learn from a month of baking almost everyday?
1) I’m fine with fudging the rules and keeping a flexible schedule. Some days I had to skip a day or rearrange the list to accommodate where the cookies were being sent. I couldn’t send cookies with nuts in them to a class party so I flip-flopped several days…and that’s okay. Some days I was too busy to get to it so I just pushed everything back a day until I could get back on track…and that’s okay. The take-away; just be flexible. You know what breaks the easiest? Rules that are ridged and inflexible. You will be a lot happier and less disappointed when things don’t turn out exactly has you had planned if you expect hiccups and changes. Keeping yourself accountable and dependable is easier if you give yourself some wiggle room and allow space for mistakes.
2) I prefer to work alone. There were a couple days when friends came over to help bake. I love their company but realized that when it comes to cooking and baking I prefer to do it myself. You know when you have people over and someone always asks “how can I help?” The answer is…enjoy yourself. Relax and enjoy what I’ve made for you. If you really need a job, pour water into the glasses, otherwise, just be chill.
3) One of my top moments of the holiday season was seeing an entire plate of cookies devoured by the people around me. We visited with some cousins right before Christmas and, of course, I brought the cookie of the day (red velvet with cream cheese frosting). They killed the plate and I was so surprised at how much joy it brought me. Seeing other people genuinely love something you made with your own two hands was a gift.
4) Brownies with dried-tart-cherries are a game changer. I don’t know if I will ever truly enjoy a plain brownie again.
5) Being creative and creating is life giving. Everyone should find a way to fit creativity into their life. I don’t care what it is, baking, needlework, music, cooking, art in it’s many facets, fashion, gardening, etc. Just find a creative outlet and allow the joy to fill in the empty cracks.
What brought you joy this holiday season?