cookie day



There are a few days every year that I look forward to most, Cookie Day and the Christmas Tree Chop among them. Saint Lucia Day is joining the ranks—I can feel it. This blog is becoming a little chronicle of the aforementioned traditions, and like a creature of habit I look forward to documenting and writing about this year's. Annual days like these mark the passage of time yet maintain the patina of well-worn tradition, and I for one need that dichotomy. In a whirling, swirling season (and year!) surely it's essential that we keep a few things constant, slow, and sacred.

Cookie Day has happened every year for 21 years! Certain years there are special guests who throw aprons on and lean into the spirit of frosting and sprinkles (you will walk away with a blue tongue and a stomachache; it's just a fact, people.). Other years there are just 3 or 4 of us. Ever constant are Fran and Cindy, lifelong best friends and Cookie Day Foundresses. We are trending upwards in numbers as a whole gaggle of children join the Cookie Force. All the little ones present this year are Montessori-educated, which showed in their deliberate care in rolling dough and cutting shapes. (It should be noted that they also deliberately snuck so many bites of cookie dough that I was sure they themselves would morph into cut-out cookies. Self-control is tough when there are 200 cookies on the table.) I would be remiss to not mention my grandma's absence. We missed her palpably. Her dear sister, my Great Aunt Posie, joined us and filled the air with the gentle joy the Engle sisters were decidedly known for.
// [Peek 2015 + whoops, I guess I never posted the photos from 2016]

And the Christmas Tree Chop! It's only our fourth year—practically infancy—and I suspect the cost of trees increased at our local tree farm, but it is no less a favorite tradition. Hot chocolate and coffee must accompany, and ten to twenty trees need be deliberated over before settling on The One. Brother Zach always cuts it down, and generally one child cries. It's a little bit chaos, a lotta bit festive. 
// [Peek 2015 + 2016]




cutting out cookies
candy cane cookies
cutting out cookies
mark carrying cookies
kids working dough

Cookie Day has happened every year since 1996. For 19 years, one day in December has been devoted to baking and decorating sugar cookies en masse. You know, the "16 sticks of butter before icing" kind of baking. This is an all hands on deck approach to holiday baking that my mom and her lifelong best friend, Cindy, established (pictured together below). However small or inexperienced, however icing-liberal or artistically un-inclined, any & all are invited to join together in intention and craft.

Let me be clear about one thing: there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to decorating these cookies. For nearly two decades, we've been transforming Santa into octopi, ghosts, and the yellow submarine. Gingerbread men become Swedish yodelers, Winnie the Pooh, ninja turtles and the Mona Lisa. The joy of this day has nothing to do with creating picturesque desserts and everything to do with celebrating togetherness, celebrating hundreds of cookies warm out of the oven, and celebrating the genuine spirit of Christmas. Four Cookie Day's ago, I showed Mark how to properly hold a piping bag. Now he shows the little ones, who in a few years will show their friends. 

In this Advent season of anticipation, we aim for happiness, gratitude, and wonder. 
Thanks be to Tradition, a slow & beautiful maiden.

jane and hazel frosting cookies
mama aimee
a table full of dough
frances tasting frosting
fran and cindy
frosted cookies