Carol hummed along with the eight-track of Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas as she set out the ingredients for homemade sugar cookies. She opened her olive green refrigerator and retrieved eggs and butter. She placed the items on the counter next to the vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, and sugar.
“Girls,” she called. “Time to make Christmas cookies!”
Beth and Allison came running into the room. I’m such a great mom, Carol thought with a smile. This is going to be a great family tradition. Carol’s mother had been too busy to make homemade cookies from scratch and Carol was determined to create life-long memories for her children.
“I want to break the eggs,” Beth said as she snatched them from the counter.
“No, I want to.” Allison whined.
“You’re too young,” Beth said as she held the eggs out of her sister’s reach.
“No fair!” Allison turned a pouting face to her mother. “Mommy!” she pleaded for help.
Carol reached for the eggs, but Beth resisted and the eggs cracked in their hands, dripping in a glob onto the floor.
“Grossssss,” Beth said as Allison laughed.
“Everyone out of the kitchen,” Carol yelled in defeat.
“But you said we were going to make Christmas cookies. It was going to be a Christmas tradition.”
“I’ll make the cookies, you can decorate them when I’m done. Now out!” She pointed a determined finger toward the family room and watched with a stern face as the girls slumped out of the kitchen. So much for a great Christmas tradition.
A cassette of Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas played through black speakers as Carol sprinkled flour over her kitchen counter and then sliced open the tube of Slice and Bake sugar cookies. She rolled out the dough and then called the girls to the kitchen.
“Time to make cookies.”
Beth sashayed into the room wearing Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and a rainbow t-shirt. She pulled out a bar stool and carefully selected a cookie cutter.
Allison skipped into the room in her cheerleading outfit and sat down next to her sister. “Will you pass me the angel cookie cutter,” she asked.
“I’m using it. You’ll have to wait.”
Allison rolled her eyes at her sister, then grabbed the Christmas tree cookie cutter.
Mom and girls gingerly cut out stars, sleighs and angels and placed the dough shapes on the cookie sheets. While the cookies baked, the three chatted.
“What do you want for Christmas, Mom?”
I love this time together. “I have all I could ever want,” she said as her voice cracked.
The sisters looked at each other and giggled. “Mom, are you crying again?” They often teased their sentimental mother.
Carol smiled at her daughters. “I’m just glad you’ll still make cookies with me.”
Kenny Rogers was singing Mary, Did you Know? when the oven buzzed. Carol donned Christmas pot holders and pulled golden sugar cookies from the oven.
“The cookies are ready,” she called into the family room.
Her daughters and their husbands appeared in the kitchen, ready to decorate Christmas cookies.
“The Smiths from next door will be judging this year. They’re coming at seven.” The addition of sons-in-laws had turned her Christmas tradition into a competition. Each family member decorated five cookies, and then a neighbor picked the best-looking cookie.
“Let’s go,” Allison’s husband said as he popped his knuckles and reached for a star-shaped cookie.
Carol smiled. She didn’t mind that the tradition had turned into a contest. At least we’re still decorating cookies together.
Carol was out for a brisk walk when she felt her cell phone vibrate in her pocket. She muted Mercy Me’s Silent Night on her iPod and flipped open her phone.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Hey Mom. Guess what me and the kids are about to do?”
“What?” Carol asked excitedly. She always enjoyed updates on her grandkids.
“We’re starting a new tradition. We’re going to make and decorate homemade Christmas cookies.”
Carol was puzzled. “We already make homemade cookies every year.”
“You use Slice and Bake dough.”
“I use my own oven. I call that homemade,” Carol said defensively.
“Fine, Mom, but we’re going to start a new tradition and make them from scratch.”
Carol bit her tongue. “That sounds wonderful.”
“I’m so excited.”
“Let me know how it turns out.”
Carol heard Beth gasp. “Katie, put those eggs down right now! Mom, I’ve got to go.” The line suddenly went dead.
Carol laughed. My Christmas tradition continues.
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