John’s Grandma Virginia always made the same cookies at Christmas, and he LOVED them. Each year, when she asked what he wanted? “Just a bag full of your cookies!”was his reply. And he’d get two Ziplocs full of them, plus a bag of practical, white tube socks, almost every year. When we were first married I made the silly, stupid mistake of saying “What’s the big deal about these cookies? really, they’re not that great.” Yikes! One look at John’s face and I was back-pedaling and apologizing all over!! But really? as far as Christmas cookies go, they are not the bright sparkly ones you reach for on the cookie tray. No chocolate. No frosting. No sprinkles. Just plain, round, and tan in color. And you didn’t know until the first bite whether you were getting the raisin filling or the raspberry (and yet we would fight over that last raspberry one) It didn’t take long for me to “get it” and I began to appreciate, more and more, this simple cookie and all the love put into its creation. As Grandma got older, and Aunt Alayne would go over and help her bake them, the cookies just got more precious. We would keep them in the refrigerator and eat them slowly, savoring them with cold glasses of milk. Years ago, Virginia gave me the recipe but I’ve have never made them. I knew I couldn’t do them as well, and besides, I didn’t need to! It’s different now. Grandma isn’t with us anymore, and this year is our first Christmas without her. It won’t be quite the same. We can’t be too sad, because we know she is so much happier where she is! We wouldn’t wish her back from her eternal home for all the cookies in the world, but we miss her for far more than baking, that’s for sure.
This year, John and I agreed, that in the days before Christmas we are going to gather our boys and make his Grandma’s filled cookies. We’ll do it every year, and talk about Grandpa George and Grandma Virginia, and try to help our kids remember their great-grandparents.
And to honor this tradition, and her memory, I made a little shadowbox to hang in the kitchen during the holidays… I used an old aluminium cake tin (.59 cents, found at the Goodwill) as a shadowbox frame, and lined it with red Christmas scrapbook paper. I don’t recall that brand, I think it is Basic Grey but looks kind of shabby and vintage. Next, I made copies of Grandma’s recipe and a copy of picture of her with her first son, John’s Dad, taken in the 1940s. I added some scrapbook embellishments of cookie baking (by Jolee’s) and hung a ribbon on the back, for hanging.It’s a blessing to have family, traditions, memories (and yes, even cookies!) at Christmas.
But nope, I’m not going to share the recipe! Ha! can you believe it, Kari?!!