Growing up, we gave Christmas cookies as gifts to anyone not closely related.
Starting at Thanksgiving, my mom and I would start making the longer-lasting cookies (or making sugar-cookie dough and freezing it for later rolling and baking). We'd go to church the Sunday before Christmas, loaded down with tins filled with a variety of cookies, wrapped in ribbons, tagged for everyone we knew (luckily, it was a small church). As I grew older and my younger brothers and cousins were born, we started holding annual Cookie Parties: days filled 4 little boys kept busy rolling, decorating, baking and sugar rushes for all. Most of cookies from these years were best given to parents who could appreciate the ‘skill' of the decorator.
Now that I live hours away from my family, I miss a house filled with cookie smells and countertops that are as piled with cookies as the sidewalks with snow. Last year Mom waited to have the Cookie Party until I was home to help, but this year the boys are older (7 & 8) and they wanted to have their friends over, so they're forging on without me.
I'm also feeling the tug to create my own memories, with my own little family. For the first time ever, Jay wanted to contribute to our Handmade gifts, so as we sat down for a ‘planning meeting' last weekend. I was overjoyed that he thought cookies would be a fantastic gift for his family that we're visiting next week! I immediately started jotting down all the cookies I wanted to make (chocolate chip, decorated sugar cookies, snowballs, brownies, 7-layer cookie bars…) and then it hit us: his family is diabetic. They can have a little sugar (they love my apple pie), but a whole tin of cookies? At least some of them need to be sugar-less. This is a test of our creativity, since, as Sister Diane writes, sugar does a lot more than just sweeten the cookies.
All of my Google-skillz are being tested as I search for sugar-free cookie recipes, but I'm not happy with the quality of the recipes I'm coming up with.