As a parent, I try desperately each year to instill the REAL meaning of Christmas into my kids and every year one of them lets a comment about toys being the height of the holiday season slip out.
I know how they feel. Except instead of toys, my obsession is cookies. Baking AND eating them. However, I get as much joy in sharing them with others. Nothing says "I love and appreciate all you do for me year round" like a batch of fresh baked, melt in your mouth treats!
My favorite thing to do is give them to those who least expect it in my local community....like our librarians who to go the extra mile and hold new books aside for my kids without us ever requesting them because they know what topics my kids enjoy, or the priests at my church who listen to me complain and confess the same things over and over again patiently without ever yelling "GET OVER YOURSELF".
This year I only baked 5 different cookies. At 8 months pregnant I just couldn't muster up the steam to do many more (and yes, my poor unborn child is also the scapegoat for my lack of outside Christmas decorations and poor gift wrapping jobs). This year's selection included(starting at the top of the picture above and moving clockwise): Cherry Snowballs, Mincemeat Cookies, Coffee Bonbons, Cream Cheese Coconut Thumbprints, and Peanut Butter Kisses. All of the red "frosting" you see is not just food coloring, but actually a cherry chip which I found at Woodman's Market on Randall Road in Carpentersville. They are tasty if you like artificial cherry flavor and the color, but I found the flavor a bit overwhelming to the cookies. I'd stick with what the original recipes suggest. My family did a taste test and we couldn't all decide on a favorite. The strongest opinions were regarding the coffee bonbons. Let's just say you have to love coffee to enjoy them--they're pretty potent!
So this year in the spirit of the REAL St. Nicholas, set aside a dozen and surprise someone special in your neighborhood who may have been overlooked. I bet it will be the greatest gift you give this season.