Day 14 of Christmas Cheer--Christmas Cookies by Carol Hungerford
Blowing and drifting snow did not prevent me from walking the four blocks to school that day for our school Christmas concert. I sang our first grade class song for the school concert as I plowed through the snow drifts on my way home that afternoon. “Oh little town of Bethlehem.” My hands were warm thanks to my red mittens, and a red hat kept my ears covered against the harsh wind. In mid December of 1957, girls wore a pair of slacks under their dress to keep warm. Excitement filled my spirit all the way down to my black rubber snow boots. When I get home today, Mom is going to help me make Christmas cookies.
The cookie dough was ready for rolling out. I stood on a two step ladder to reach across the giant deep freezer where I could roll and cut to my hearts' delight. I reached across the huge circle of cookie dough , I pushed the star cookie cutter into the dough until I could feel it stop against the top of the freezer. Standing on the ladder I could sprinkle flour on the surface and continue to roll out the dough into circles large enough to cut several cookies. I used nine different cutters to make the cookies. A star, candy cane, holly sprig, angel, snowman, Christmas tree, snow flake, mitten and hat.
Carefully, I placed the cutouts onto the cookie sheet with Moms' help. Mom deftly slid the loaded sheet into the oven to bake to a lightly golden brown then to be deposited onto the cooling racks.
I mixed up frosting in colors of white, green, red, blue and yellow. While I waited for the cookies to cool enough so the frosting wouldn't melt, I thought about who would receive the gift of these delicious cookies.
A plate to Grandma and Grandpa. Another plate to our neighbors. One for an elderly couple who seldom had visitors. A plate for two elderly sisters who attended our church. And finally, the Hansen family of seven, whose father lived in another town and the mother took care of the five children by herself and worked at two jobs to support them.
Mom said we could send some clothes or toys along with the cookies to the Hansen family. I thought about what things I could give to the Hanson kids. I went to my room that I shared with my sister Becky. I went to my dresser and brought out a sack with marbles in it. In another drawer I found a doll with peekaboo eyes and a blue plaid dress. I asked Becky if she could give something of hers and she gave me a pink sweater with rhinestone buttons on it. I went to the storeroom and found a spinning top in a bag. I went to the closet and pulled out my pair of red mittens. Now I had something for all the kids. Mom put together a box of groceries for Mrs. Hanson.
Frosting the cookies with so many wonderful colors was great fun and messy too. I licked my fingers off from time to time until every cookie was frosted. Carefully we placed each cookie onto the selected plates and wrapped them in Christmas wrap. We wrapped the gifts with paper and ribbons too.
That evening, Dad drove the whole family around town to distribute the plates as we'd planned. When we got to the Hanson home, we were greeted by excited children at the door. Maggie Hanson was in my class at school. We handed the gifts to Mrs. Hanson and she expressed her thanks for making their Christmas a special one. She unwrapped the cookies so everyone could have one. Mrs. Hanson picked up the angel frosted in golden yellow and said, “for the angel said to the shepards on that first Christmas night, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.”.”
I learned some important lessons that day. First, that it is better to give than to receive. Second, it is good to share joy and hope with those less fortunate than us. And finally, God can reach down and touch our hearts with something as simple as a cookie shapeed like an angel. May the hope that is Christmas always live in your hearts.