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Christmas Cookies & Other Holiday Traditions

posted Sep 5, 2012, 8:20 PM by Darryl Giors   [ updated Sep 5, 2012, 8:21 PM ]
December 25, 2009 

Darryl's baked chocolate chip cookies
Every year at Christmas time I bake chocolate chip cookies. It's a tradition that started with my father when I was barely old enough to remember. My dad taught me the importance of carrying on certain family traditions and the holidays were his favorite time of the year.

Dad's love of the holidays has meant very much to me. He compiled hours of Christmas music from the golden era of radio (and some rock 'n roll) onto audio cassettes. Those tapes have been preserved on CD and my computer's music library. He very much would have loved Dad also insisted that we put up the Christmas tree starting on Black Friday. It was such a large tree with so many lights and ornaments that it was easily a two-day project. If we put up exterior lights we might be done by Sunday evening. He also had a plywood santa and sleigh he had cut out and painted in flourescent colors that we put on the roof which glowed under blacklight

Unfortunately the last time we decorated in a big way was in 1999 when dad was losing his fight against cancer. I knew it would be the last time we put up that big tree and the last Christmas we had with him. Since that time my Mother and I have sheltered too many cats to make an extravagant tree realistic. Where I live now I can put up a little window display but not much more. I actually missed my opportunity to put it together this year. At least I made cookies.

Baking chocolate chip cookies actually started with my Mom.  Every year for the family's Christmas dinner at home she would make beef ravioli, bonyet, and bake cookies all from scratch.  In the days leading up to December 25th she would be quite busy with cleaning, cooking and preparing for the big day.  She appreciated when my Brother and I would help her with the cookies since it was pretty easy for us youngsters to mix up dough in a bowl.  One year, probably in the early 80's my Father decided to take over cookie detail to give my Mom a little rest.  So throughout my childhood my Dad, Brother and I would make the cookies on Christmas Eve.

Since my father passed I have taken the mantle of baking the cookies annually.  I've never been much of a cook but I know that many people enjoy the cookes I bake.  One long-time family friend has threatened bodily injury upon my person if I ever neglect to bake them.  I can think of no higher compliment.

Before I swell with too much pride I should remind myself that the cookies are not mine, they are my Father's.  I simply remember how he used to make them and follow his tweaked tollhouse recipe.  I have no progeny of my own but I hope to teach my niece how to bake the cookies so that she can continue the tradition.

Even though I spent Christmas Eve alone I had a few moments of bliss while cooking.  Few things fill me with the holiday spirit like listening to Christmas classics while baking and partaking in some cookies with a steaming cup of coffee in hand.  In recent years I have prepared double batches and give out plenty to friends & family on Christmas day, a truly joyous way to give good cheer!

Cookie dough in bowl

Cookie dough in bowl and on cookie sheetThere are always problems at the beginning of the baking.  This year I misread my instructions for my condo's oven and under-cooked the first couple of trays.  I was wondering why they were coming out as pale as Lady Gaga and returned them to the oven for a few minutes more.

Enjoy the pictures of the dough and the finished product.  If you're lucky enough to catch me in the coming days ask for some holiday tradition that's fun to eat!

Addendum Dec. 25th, 2009:

I forgot to mention that another holiday tradition my Dad was keen to do was he read The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore to my Brother and I every night from December 1st through Christmas eve.  As my Brother and I got older he had us take turns reading the poem aloud from the book.  It's been years since I've spoken, read or heard the story but yesterday i put myself to the test and recited the entire poem from memory without missing a beat.  I hope that my brother will find the time to read The Night Before Christmas to Giovanna each holiday season.