Why I Bake Hundreds of Christmas Cookies Every Year


Madeline Whitney, A&E Editor

My grandmother died when my mother was ten. As the oldest child, my mother put the weight on her own back to stay in touch with her mother’s family.

She did this by baking cookies.

Every Christmas for the week leading up to the holiday, my mom would go over to her grandmother’s house and make hundreds and hundreds of cookies.

As she baked, frosted, and sprinkled these cookies, she bonded with her grandmother. Nothing brings you closer to someone than spending days on end in the kitchen together.

When my mom was in the kitchen with her grandmother, she could feel her mother’s presence and love.

Because of this, every Christmas my mom is eager to share those memories with my two older brothers and me.

The recipes have changed over the years, although we still keep the same tried and true sugar cookie recipe and traditional Polish kiefling cookie straight from Granny’s handwritten cookbook, but the moments I spend with my family in the kitchen are filled with the same love my mother felt as a young girl.

My brothers and I may complain about spending our first few days of break taking orders in the kitchen from my mother about how to properly cream the butter and sugar, but deep down we spend the month of December counting down to cookie days.

We have not gone without blunders, as any baker will tell you. Just last year, my oldest brother forgot how many cups of flour he added to the chocolate chip cookies, creating what we so lovingly called “cake nuggets.”.

There was one year where we decided to make sugar cookie mice. I do not recommend this. Licorice is not meant to be used as a tail, and they will haunt your nightmares for weeks to come.

People always look at me a little funny when I say that I make close to a thousand cookies every Christmas. For who? Why? I tend to simplify the answers to keep the memories of Granny’s kitchen inside my heart.

I’ve been scolded and told that I’m a terrible Polish girl when I mess up the folds on our special Polish cookies, but in the end there is no other place I would rather be.

The smile on my mother’s face when we are in the kitchen is like no other, and when I bake with her, I too feel the presence of her mom and grandmother.