Since then our world has expanded in every possible way. Our neighborhood had an influx of younger people and families so further down our street we trudged, marking our new friendships with baskets, plates or tins of homemade food. Our ties to friends became deep and intertwined and so we began to get in the car to deliver after we had braved the cold on foot. We had children and our world exploded. I started bringing food to my friend Joann who I sublet massage space from and the people downstairs in the accounting firm. They appreciated it so much I put them on the list for the next year. I have clients that bring me gifts and Christmas and so they, too, were on the list.
I started baking in November this year, by far my most organized operation to date. I relied heavily on our basement freezer, early mornings, late nights and the occasional window of time one can throw a batch of cookies in the oven in the middle of the day.
Then it was time to assemble.
I made: heath bar, italian almond cookies, ginger snaps, orange and chocolate pinwheel cookies, peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses, dipped pretzels, espresso crinkle cookies, truffle iced sugar cookies, peanut butter cups, butterscotch bark and a chocolate lollipop for each of the kids.
http://www.onemominmaine.com/ ) so I put some of our fancy shmancy sugar cookies in there as well.
Twenty nine families in all! And that was by no means everyone we wanted to include.
We took all day to do it. I assembled in the morning and then Ella and I went to deliver them to all our neighbors. It was a cold December day but with the sun this year rather than the dark. Ella walked alongside me with her Christmas basket of chocolate lollipops for the kids and a giant smile across her face and I knew at once that she understood why this is so much fun for me.
After lunch we all piled in the car and, listening to Christmas music all the way, we made our way in a four-leaf clover pattern all around the area, delivering tins of goodies. I sat in the back with the kids much to their delight and amusement and my car sickness and we giggled all the way. Some houses we stopped for tea and a chat, others we ran in to give hugs and holiday greetings.
I felt like Santa Claus. If Santa had a streak of Betty Crocker and shopped at Old Navy.
I've decided that the bags under my eyes are a small price to pay for the immense joy this tradition brings me. Short of the wonder of Christmas morning, the exuberance over Santa, this is my favorite part of Christmas: love, sharing and baked goods.
Here's to hoping not all 29 people reciprocate...
When we got home I took a breath, relieved not to be planning my next batch of dough and another round of dishes when I realized Ella volunteered for Christmas cookies for her holiday party. I started the dough to sit in the fridge to be cut out after school.
Then Sandi said, "Hey, do we have any more heath bar?"