On Monday morning, I attended my friend’s annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. For those who are unaware of possibly The Best Event Ever Invented, a cookie exchange is where a group of people make batches of a single type of cookie, then get together and exchange them all, so everyone walks out with an assortment of different types of cookies. After Christmas itself, I believe that it is my kids’ favorite day of the year.
Because I live in a very Type A area, we are expected to bring 5 dozen cookies to this blessed event. Which means that we each walk out with 5 dozen assorted cookies from this blessed event. Which means that there should be some cookies left at my house, right? I mean, I brought the cookies home Monday afternoon. There are 5 people in my house. Even if you assume that we eat the cookies at a rate of 3 per person per day, the cookie assortment should last more than 1 ½ days, right? Well, it is Wednesday, and when I went to pour my first cup of coffee early this morning, I saw that only crumbs remain in the cookie jar. Huh? Where did they go? It is like the bonus question on a problem solving quiz. I keep doing the math, and can’t understand why it doesn’t add up. OK, maybe I don’t want to understand why it doesn’t add up.
Yes, Colby, while you were munching on chia seeds between squats, my family and I ate 60 cookies in a 36-hour period. That is disgusting. We might as well have mainlined Cookie Butter. Please, I beg of you, do NOT bring this post to the attention of Michelle Obama. I am very grateful that the kids have already had their physicals for the year and hope that I can stabilize their blood sugar levels before next Fall.
Diabetic concerns aside, the Cookie Exchange was such a great event. Monday dawned after a horrible weekend here in CT and across the nation, and shortly after our children got on the school bus Monday morning, reports started flowing in about another nearby town putting its schools into lockdown because of a suspicious person in the area. (All ended up fine). Everyone who attended the exchange – all of us mothers of young children – seemed a little sad, heavy-hearted and shaken up when we arrived.
Though it may have been a strange start, the inviting, communal, traditional cookie exchange is just what we all needed that day. I felt much better, much more full of hope, when I left than I had in days. The great mix of people and warm, friendly faces made for a wonderful atmosphere. The beautiful setting didn’t hurt, either. My friend could win a throwdown with Martha Stewart any day of the week when it comes to holiday decorating, so I got to spend several hours surrounded by beauty and holiday warmth. It also didn’t hurt that she had set out lots of great coffee (Jingle Bell Java) and delicious treats, to ease our bodies into the sugar overload that was to come. My friend knows how to throw a party, and this exchange is always a great time. But the main things that spoke to me this year were community and tradition.
Community. Last Friday really highlighted the fact that, for better or worse, we, as a society, are also a community. A community of people who need to connect with each other as often as we can. To walk into my friend’s house and see familiar faces – some of whom I see all the time and some who I only see several times a year – was so comforting. It made me realize that in the 9 years I have lived in my town, it truly has become my home. I might always think of myself as a Bostonian, but I’m really not anymore, even though I’ll never give up the Red Sox hat. And slowly, over time, I have developed connections in my adopted community with people who mean the world to me.
Tradition. I have always been a fan of traditions, but when it feels like the world is falling apart around you, it is even more important to know that you have traditions that you can rely on. Children always seem to look to the familiar to make sense of their world, whether it is a beloved stuffed animal, a favorite book or simply knowing that Tuesday is Library Day at school. I think they’re on to something. I have found that over the past few days, I also have been looking to the familiar for comfort and reassurance that life goes on. For me, right now, honoring my family’s traditions is more important than ever. Christmas cards, cookie exchanges, Nativity pageants and other annual traditions – this year, they are all helping to remind me that the world will keep turning, even if it is a little bit broken.
Thanks to KDT for hosting such a wonderful and much-needed event.