Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Dying Tradition

Here's a picture of the cookie plates that we are giving out. It has pecan sandies, chocolate chip cookies, crinkles, and banana bread on it. It's wrong to brag(with Santa watching) but it's far from sucking! We make cookies for days. I think we made over 400 cookies. I don't count in dozens because I'm not a baker. And just having to multiply everything by 12 puts me in an even worse mood.
Now this is where I'm going to sound like I totally don't get Christmas. I do get it because if you even knew how upsetting baking is in this quantity for me, I would get some slack. I don't want anything in return, I do this because I know it makes others happy. But I think in all of the years that we have been married, we have only gotten one cookie plate and that was from my mother in law. I don't want anything in exchange, really. I want to give out the plates as a gift. And they are always very well received. I often get calls thanking me because it went well with their Christmas dinner. But am I behind the times? Did I miss the memo? Were Christmas cookie plates canceled? I know that time is always an issue with busy families but when did the cookie plate go out of style? With everyone searching for purpose and longing for closer family bonds with the dying economy, why aren't the cookie plates making a come back?
Den and I both would hate to give up the cookie plate tradition. Well, maybe that is an overstatement. I'm kind of cranky when we make cookies and Den gets the brunt of it. So he would probably like to skip that part of the tradition. But otherwise, it seems that everyone is genuinely pleased to be on the receiving end. Or it could be that Den and I are a couple of old farts. Even though we are Gen Xers, I think we didn't get the call that cookies are a baby boomers tradition.
Do you get cookie plates?
Thanks for stopping over,


Annie Jones said...

While it's not our tradition, I sometimes give cookie plates and occasionally receive them...but admittedly less often than I send them. I really hadn't thought about it, but it may very well be a dying tradition.

BTW, are you younger than me? I'm a December '63 baby...most sources say I'm a boomer, but a couple say I'm an X-er.

Also BTW, I got a $3 Swagbuck for searching "baby boomer". Thanks! LOL!

Tiffany said...

I always wondered about the cookie plate or homemade gifts. I make huge batches of Chex Mix for hubby's coworkers and plates of cookies for friends and neighbors and I don't think we've ever received a plate of cookies.

I love more homey traditions like cookies and my son is loving helping. I think people forget about the simple things and alot of times those are the most enjoyed.

Linda said...

I get alot of Cookie Platers, I'm a preschool teacher and a lot of kids bring us cookies, candies, fudge, You name it, I do love getting these plates full of goodies. When my daughter was younger and at home we would make lots of cookies and give them out, which I probably would still if she was home! Try to enjoy it cause I kind of miss it now! maybe next year I will do some baking!

Merry Christmas!

McVal said...

Our tradition every year to make little bags of cookies and goodies for our neighbors. They SHOULD have been handed out Sunday, but it got away from us... Good thing too, or Meri wouldn't have had any cookies to take to school on Monday.
Those cookie plates look awesome!! They're tons bigger than what we make!
Sometimes a neighbor sends something back to us, but only once or twice in the last 10 years we've done this. We don't expect it.
Never did as a kid! This was all my husband's idea!

slugmama said...

I know what you are saying SonyaAnn.
My mom use to bake at xmas and send food to everyone, even up to the xmas before she passed away. It was something that was expected in her generation-baking for others. I don't think she ever received much back, not in baking but in other items/ways. I chalk it up to baking being a LOST ARTform that is only recently making a comeback. People don't bake at the holidays because they either aren't very good at it or they don't know how. Except for my SIL....someone PLEASE tell my SIL that she can NOT and SHOULD NOT BAKE because I can't!lolol The woman made a pecan pie once and forgot to put in any sugar...well, she did put something in but it was SALT! bleh
Have you ever had a saltlick pie? That is what it was....with nuts!lol

Besides people not knowing how to bake there are is also the lazy factor. With traditions and morals/standards being more relaxed today, lots of people just don't try or put themselves out for others. Why should I go to all this trouble to make someone something when I know they won't wouldn't do it for me or I could be doing something else I want to do more-like drinking, or sitting on my fat ass in front of the tv or computer?lolol
Also, people could be consciously choosing to pare down the traditions because between family/work/etc. there is too much stress and some things have to go. Why continue a tradition like cookie making if it just stresses you out?
Or maybe the folks you give baked stuff to feel intimidated by your cooking prowess....yes, I am typing this with a straight face.lolo....your cookies are so wonderful that they feel what they could bake for you would be puny and as Garth said, "so not worthy".
Just putting out some thoughts on why people don't bake/exchange cookies at the holidays here....just more of my mental running off at the mouth.lol

If you really lament this whole lack of cookie plates tradition, why not take things by the horns?! Host a xmas cookie exhange! Make it a big deal....send out invites, either have folks bring ingredients and make cookies together(along with drinking alot of wine)or make 1 type of cookie and then get together for the exchange part(again, with alot of wine to go along with the cookies).lol
If I lived closer, I'd love to come to your cookie exchange!

SonyaAnn said...

Annie Jones-I felt kind of bad posting it, like I want cookies in return. I really don't expect anything. You just never see it anymore. I was just wondering if it was like this for everyone.
I was born in 71. UGH, where did my life go? I'm an X-er, I think.

SonyaAnn said...

Tiffany-I honestly, love the gifts that take time and love over the gifts that cost a lot of money. I think nest year I'm going to make some gifts in a jar. Just a thought. And how nuts is it I'm already planning next years gifts.

SonyaAnn said...

Linda-You deserve a ton of platters for teaching so many little ones! I could never do that. It takes patience that I just don't have.

SonyaAnn said...

McVal-This Christmas is getting the best of me! I'm behind, too! I thought I had it all planned and under control and then Den got involved. Drive this here and oh, I forgot a gift for so and so. And heat up all the food I made and run it to my work! And there is a huge storm here!!!! Santa is still watching him, is all I have to say about it!

SonyaAnn said...

slugmama-It's not that I want anything. Trust me, my fat ass is getting out of control and a cookie is the last thing that I need. It is just that I have had quite a few people tell me that they look forward to the tray. And it's not as if I can say, why don't you make some? I can only say it here with all of you. You guys are my inner circle. Half the stuff I put on the blog would be edited out of my real life.
I spent a lot of my childhood with my grandmother and I think that she had the biggest impact on me. I find that I do a lot of things like she did. Old school rocks! There is something that is so pure and safe about a cookie platter. It brings me back to a safer time. Yes, I'm a dork.
And I had to laugh about "cooking prowess." It's all Den! I try and he fixes it. I'm ok with side dishes and baking a bit. But he is the master. The problem is there are a few things that I do well and in typical chef fashion he feels the need to improve upon it. And that's the point where it gets ugly! He needs to learn to respect my cookies! Otherwise, he is always the boss. Just don't tell him I said that!

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, your cookie platter is beautiful! If you don't love doing it, cut back next year...I guarantee it will be missed.

I used to bake TONS of cookies at Christmas and one year, I made a candy platter with all kinds of luscious homemade candies. Everyone loved them, of course, but lamented the calories. LOL!

Now, my homemade gifts are pared down to jams and Cranberry Almond bread. I know everyone loves them, as people start asking around August if that is what I will be giving. LOL! I love doing it though and would expect nothing in return. But, since it all goes to friends and family, I get gifts, but rarely homemade ones.

If it makes you happy, do it, if it doesn't anymore, it is time to reconsider.

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I just get burned out. Like I have said I'm not much of a cook. But this year has been better because Den did a lot of it.
And your jams look amazing! If I don't get a chance to tell you have a Merry Christmas!

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, I am sorry you got burned out. If you decide to bake next year, start earlier and freeze cookies! It helps to keep you from burning out. I have a bunch of loaves of bread in the freezer and will take them out tomorrow afternoon to thaw for handing out Christmas morning.

Donna Freedman said...

Count me in on the cookie-giving -- but then again, I was born in December 1957, which I guess puts me at the tail end of the baby boom.
I make only three kinds, though:
Chocolate chocolate-chip brownies (really rich and really good, if I do say so myself)
Butter spritz (I even found the EXACT SAME COOKIE PRESS that my mom used, at a rummage sale for $3; it brings back memories)
Peanut butter blossoms, the kind with a Hershey's Kiss on top; this is the world's best cookie (do not attempt to convince me otherwise)
This year I wanted to have made them in time to take them with me to a meeting with my editors -- a mere two days after turning in the #$!@ thesis, and in a week when I had early holiday deadline. So on Tuesday night, after getting home from the university, I baked the brownies and then tackled the deadline. The next morning I whirled and howled in the kitchen, turning out 19 dozen cookies and building the platters with a few hours of concentrated effort.
The "platters" were actually tins and small plastic buckets from the dollar store. My favorite one had a pair of snowmen holding gifts -- except that one of the gifts was yellow-brown with a frothy ribbon, and I thought at first the snowman was holding a beer.
The editors loved them, as did the several friends who got them.
And I loved the REST of them. In far too short a time, I'm afraid.
This was the most tired I've ever been, but I made the cookies because I wanted to make them. If it ever gets to be too much I'll give it up, but like you, Sonya Ann, I really enjoy giving them. If that makes me a twice-damned baby boomer, so be it.
Make that a twice-damned baby boomer who may have gone up one size in the past 10 days. Those peanut butter blossoms really ARE the world's best cookie.

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I'm just not a holly jolly sort of gal. I can't help it. And our cookies didn't fair so well. We used our neighbors' freezer and everything seemed wet. And they froze together. So we salvaged what we could and I'll use what;s left for ice cream. I'm going to have to figure something out for next year. I think I'll keep making cookies but it takes me a year to get over it!

SonyaAnn said...

Donna Freedman-I've been missing you! But I knew that you were super busy!
I hope that you had a great Christmas.
I can't believe that you made all of those cookies in such a short amount of time. I would have hurt someone. I'm just not that nice. I think that just spending a lot of time in the kitchen puts me in a bad mood. They sound wonderful but I couldn't do it!
I think now that you have finished so many goals, you are going to go stir crazy! Have you decided what next? I'm going on a diet! I'm not bragging but I can write a book but I can't get my right hand to stop shoving food in my mouth. I need to work on this one. So that will be one of the things on my to do list for 2010.
Thank you for coming to see me!! I can't wait to read about your next adventure.

Donna Freedman said...

Sonya Ann: As I wrote in the Smart Spending blog last week ("I've got my B.A.! Now what?"), I'm so tired I can't see straight. I thought I knew what "tired" felt like. I was wrong. They need to invent a whole new adjective to describe what I am.
So right now, what's next is...nothing. I'm going to try to learn to move through life at a reasonable pace. Of course, it won't really be "nothing" as I'll have the biweekly MSN column, the Smart Spending blog once a week, the monitoring of the Smart Spending message board and the managing of the apartment building.
In other words, everything I used to do in my spare time. I'm curious to see what it feels like to ONLY have to work two part-time jobs.
Maybe I'll bake some cookies, too. God, I hope I don't.

SonyaAnn said...

Donna Freedman-Your brain works at such a fast past that I think the real world is going to move way to slow for you! I bet you will be searching for things to do. I'm always saying that I organize everything in our lives like shuffling a deck of cards. It all bettwe fall into place very rapidly. Or did you ever see the cards shoot all over when you shuffle? It's all or nothing with me.
I better get into bed because I have to take Anna to Ohare at 4am. She is heading to OH for a visit with her grandmother. Not even going to mention the a$$!