Right after the skeletons are put away and the candy bowl gets stashed in the really high cabinet so I don't eat any more Skittles, it begins.
There is the warm-up act, Thanksgiving. I insist on cooking everything, regardless of whether we have four people to dinner or 10 times that number. After some trial and error in the early days, the menu is now fixed, familiar and frighteningly fattening*. Even if we, for some reason, are not home and hosting on Thanksgiving, I go ahead and make the entire dinner again later.
Because I am certifiable, and it's Tradition**.
I love Thanksgiving dinner very, very much. Obviously. But I love what comes next even more.
For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been associated with cookies***. When we were little, my mom, my sister and I would decorate our tree with white lights, silver balls, and homemade, hand decorated sugar cookie ornaments. To this day at our holiday party we set out all kinds of sprinkles and candy and frosting and stacks of these in the shape of stars and candy canes and gingerbread boys and girls. They are magical, I swear.
There are virtual cookie swaps and real life cookie swaps and cookie bake-offs galore. At my book group, our hostess always makes these melt-in-your-mouth caramels and someone else brings a tray full of cookies, each one more delicious than the next. We can barely discuss what we read with all the "mmms" and "pass the brownies" going on around the room.
Everyone, it seems, has a favorite holiday cookie. Mexican Wedding Cakes. Pecan Bars. Chocolate Crinkles. Gingersnaps. Thumbprint cookies with big chocolate kisses, or decadent bars with layers of caramel and buttery shortbread.
And then there's the biggest cookie consumer on Earth. What an awesome tradition!
For a cookie person like me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I've bundled all that cookie joy into the first-ever Mom in the Mail Holiday Boxes, which will be available to order from now through December 18th. Click here, and use promo code HAPPY to save 25%!
I'd love to hear about your traditions, favorite cookies, and any of your own holiday obsessions, too. Just so I don't feel quite so alone here.****
* I do allow variations in the vegetable area, because nobody is really going to complain if last year's glazed snap peas become this year's roasted Brussels sprouts. If the mac and cheese were to go awol though...forget about it.
** And also for the leftovers. Best part of Thanksgiving, am I right?
*** A post about Christmas memories and the recipe for those magical sugar cookies (and gumbo, too!) is here.
**** There are quite a few other seasonal instances of my holiday issues, like the re-making Thanksgiving dinner thing, that I'm not coming clean about here. I will say that this video is uncanny.