Family: Making memories and cookies

I had lunch with my cousin last week.

It was a great lunch where we digested morsols of family history along with our salad and reminisced about grandparents that we both could only vaguely remember.

I was totally enjoying the lunch and the chat until she said, rather off handedly, “I pretty much have my Christmas shopping done.”

“What?” I said, choking on a mouthful of coffee. “It’s not even the end of November,” I added, somewhat unnecessarily

“Yup,” she said, cheerfully.

I have always envied and admired early Christmas shoppers. I like how they are so decisive and organized. When I imagine my future self, a self that doesn’t lose car keys and glasses, and plan a lot of stuff that doesn’t happen, I visualize myself as being one of them.

It’s a beautiful vision.

In the vision, I see myself as having all the presents bought, beautifully wrapped and carefully placed under the tree no later than December 1.

After I finished that task, I see myself plugging in the tree lights so the living room glows softly. Then my future self trots up the stairs and puts out an attractive plate of homemade Christmas baking which I managed to whip up in between my successful, but spenddrift shopping trips. Finally I snuggle down on the couch to watch a Halmark movie, content in the knowledge that I am ready for the big day.

People would marvel at my efficiency and, secretely, I would marvel at it, as well.

Alas, the vision of my future self does not match my real self and my own reality.

But, still even though I know, without a doubt, that I will be one of those last minute shoppers, who will rush around in a disorganized frenzie trying to get everything done that I should have done yesterday, I’m already feeling it, that spirit that hovers around us at Christmas.

The Christmas spirit. It’s here!

Last weekend three little spirits of Christmas (alias, three small grandsons) visited me.

In keeping with the season, we decided to make Christmas cookies.

And so I hauled out a plastic table cloth left over from Halloween, dug out Christmas cookie cutters from the recesses of my corner cupboard, found a recipe on-line and so it began.

A Christmas cookie baking afternoon.

We made angels and stars. We made Santas and Christmas trees and bells.

We used a whole lot of icing and very little cookie dough.

As the afternoon wore on, the plastic tablecloth and the boys’ hands and faces became coated with a rainbow of sticky icing. The boys were fascinated with their creations and, actually, so was I. Mostly, I was amazed my dough was working and not sticking hopelessly to the cookie cutters, like it sometimes does.

It truly was a Christmas miracle.

The clock over the sink ticked the hours away as we happily rolled and cut and tasted the cookies (mostly tasted).

And as I watched the three small chefs, I realized they we had created a lot more than cookies that afternoon.

We had created memories.

My little charges have long since gone home,, leaving behind them a dirty bathroom sink and, a crunchy kitchen floor.

But mostly they left behind the echo of their boyish laughter and a grandma who is still smiling at the memories.

Next time they want to make gingerbread houses and I’m ready.

Well, almost ready.

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