cookie list

Luna ate my cookie list.

Twice. (She is still a cute puppy.)

Every year I fantasize about making glorious cookie and candy plates, and every year I give up because I tell myself someone else has the corner on the cookie plate. I make our favorites—sugar cookies, fudge, cinnamon nuts, and candies— throughout the season. They pile on the counter in baggies and containers and we eat them when we eat them. On Christmas day, I take the left overs and put them on a fancy plate. 

Polar Bear marshmallows for hot chocolate. Can you spot the one Sam made? (He likes to make his own creations.)

Last Christmas I received a holiday cookbook as a gift. It’s become one of my favorite reads of 2020. I’ve paged through it over and over, dreaming of special holiday meals and making cookie plates happen this year.

Things haven’t went how I think they should go this holiday season. 

I keep trying to make things happen, rolling with the punches, as they say, and finding my joy from within instead of from the way life goes. I cling to a fierce determination of a holiday of wisdom and whimsy.

I know that neither wisdom nor whimsy can be forced.

I know that it is what it is.

I know that others have hard holidays. 

I make my cookie list again. I decide I need to let go of expectations. I breathe deep and remember the heart of Christmas. It is a baby in the manager who came to earth to live and die so I would know that I don’t have to hold it all together. 

I jot down the red and green spiral cookies that Jay wants. I doodle a picture of a lemon to remember to add a couple to my grocery cart so the sugar cookies will be just right. I dig through my cheesecake recipes, sure that I am going to bake them, slice them, put them on sticks, freeze them and dip them in chocolate. I start jotting names of people from church who may appreciate a small cookie plate curated by an amateur. I send a text to my mom about the cherry chip cake mix.

I let myself feel sad because of the way things are going. The Serenity Prayer wisps through my mind—

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

—Reinhold Niebuhr

I cannot change many of the things that hurt my heart this holiday season; I can make cookies and give them away on fancy plates. I smile a small smile and relish the wisdom and whimsy of giving away cookies. I close my eyes and tell myself Christmas is coming and I will be okay.

And then Luna eats my cookie list a third time.

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  1. I’ve never even believed a cookie plate gift would be possible for me. With so few weekends left until Christmas, I’ll be lucky if I get anything done. Baking brings me more stress than joy, but I admire those who do manage to bake during the season. I hope you find some time to bake, but also the time to just stare at the Christmas tree while Luna takes a nap nearby.

  2. Oh my gosh, that ending!

    You’ve inspired me–I’m going to sit down with my daughter tomorrow and see who we might like to bless with cookies this year. Our Christmas plans seem to shift daily, and this seems like something we could get behind to bring joy. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Thanks for the comment about the ending. It still has me chuckling. For a long time I’ve worked to become a “funny” writer. I’m sure I’ll never be slapstick, but just to have a line here or there that brings a chuckle is my current writer quest. 😉

  3. I hear and see the sadness running through this post. But you welcome Christ in with full abandon, you whole self. I do a half-hearted try every year. Today I just ordered more chocolate chips and will make them for Dave…he doesn’t love fancy cookies. Thanks to LC I’m trying the Norweign cookies and the Swedish bread my Grandma made only at Christmas…I keep tweaking it; each loaf doesn’t turn out the same way.

  4. Holidays don’t depend on a complete cookie plate. At the same time cookies might be just the thing to get the holiday mood. And when the cookie list is eaten the words may add sweetness to life.