One of my friends coined the term Ho Humbug today and I thought that it was a brilliant way to describe a lot of attitudes that I encounter this time of year. People are sick of shopping, sick of crowds, sick of Christmas carols that started in October, and sick of pine needles shedding on their rugs. Yet you can feel them WANTING to enjoy the season, but these other annoying things keep tugging at their patience.
With all of this frustration in the air, the one thing that I almost never hear people complain about during the holiday season is baking. Some people bake with their sister's every year, some with their children, some by themselves, some with friends. Whatever the tradition, it is something that people look forward to as soon as the Thanksgiving dishes are cleared.
What is it about cookies, breads, cakes and tarts that can turn the biggest Scrooge into a smiling Santa?
There is a joy that comes with holiday baking that is inexplicable. If you asked Sally to make the same 3 dozen cookies that she makes with a twinkle in her eye in December in June, she might grumble under her breath and consider an abrupt, "no" response. Is it because it is cold in December? Is it the fact that holiday baking is often laced in tradition? Is it the joy of feeding others?
I personally love everything about the holiday that I celebrate, Christmas. I even go so far as to make sure that all my Christmas shopping is done by Thanksgiving, so that I do not have to deal with the crowds that make me crabby and instead can enjoy the traditions that I love so much. I am looking forward to making my Christmas cookies this weekend, my great-grandmother Zelma's caramels the following weekend, and maybe even trying a new recipe or two. Something about washing dishes while listening to carols makes the whole process a little more tolerable, and watching my guests indulge in my sweets puts a smile on my face.
Whether your tradition is one that I described above, or heading down to your favorite bakery and buying your treats, enjoy every bite! Cookies always taste better during the holidays!