If I can cook anything it's junk food. One of my current personal progress goals currently is to learn to cook actual meals (I will probably eventually add healthy to the goal but for now meal is enough). So my ability to cook fairly decent junk food mostly goes unused due to my fear of getting fat and my unwillingness to spend money. Yes I'm stingy and physiologically impaired. Anyway, Christmas is one of the few times I allow myself both to spend the money on ingredients and to make lots and lots of treats. Now when I say Christmas I am only referring to this year and last year (this December 25th will be our 3rd Christmas married.
Christmas one was awful. I can't remember the exact details but I do remember crying in the car because something was so ... bad. Maybe I was hormonal. Anyway, first Christmas = fairly awful. Second Christmas, we were still living with Grandma. She was definitely bad most days. (Bad as in, not herself.) But, she was still with it enough. Right about that time, our ward had really stepped up to help us with Grandma (especially her visiting teachers and my visiting teachers). Nick and I wanted to find a way to thank everyone who was sacrificing so much of their own time and energy to help Grandma (and us). We decided we would add a food portion to our Christmas budget and make all of the wonderful people in out lives treats.
Nick and I each found two brand new recipes we wanted to make and went out and bought the stuff. We spent a whole evening cooking and making fun new desserts. I remember that we made toffee perfectly. We thought we should probably make it all the time because it was so easy. (We have tried to make it several times since then and have never been able to make it turn out). That first time must have been a Christmas miracle. Anyway, Nick and I had a lot of fun cooking and just being together. I think we watched a Christmas movie with Grandma while we did it.
The next day we labeled all of the plates and planned to deliver the treats. Unfortunately, Nick had to go to a meeting which left me with Grandma and the task of taking the treats. I was a little exasperated (we could not leave Grandma by herself) but I decided to just ask if she wanted to go with me. To my surprise she said yes. She turned off her TV, found her boots, and walked out to the car. We started driving to the first house when, to my surprise Grandma volunteered to take the treats to the door. I handed it to her and watched her walk up. She handed our neighbor the treats and smiled proudly. By the time Grandma got back to the car she was excited and ready to take the next treats. As we drove around the neighborhood, she would ask me, "who's next?" repeatedly. I would give her the name (usually of a person she had known for years). Grandma would then ask me to tell her about them or, she would proceed to tell me about them. She was still very forgetful but she was closer to being the Grandma I knew than she had been for a long time. We were gone for probably two hours. (It takes a bit longer to take treats around when you want to visit with all of your long lost friends.) At the time I enjoyed it, but I didn't realize what a gift it was to be able to help her thank all of her friends for helping her. It was probably the one of the last times she was coherent with many of the people we saw that day. I don't think she realized what the treats were for but I think everyone who got them did. It makes me happy to think of the way she smiled and wished people well that day. It is hard to believe that that was only a year ago and that now she is gone.
Anyway, this year I asked Nick if he wanted to do it again. We have a lot of people in our new ward who have helped and befriended us since we moved in in March. He agreed. So we selected our recipes (new things we wanted to try for the most part) and bought the stuff. Last night we were up till 12:00 baking cookies (probably close to 300). We had a lovely time working together and watching movies. Today, we delivered them to what felt like our entire neighborhood.
Now I don't like to be the person who actually hands people the treats. Grandma doing it last year suited me fine. I like to make the treats and then watch. This year, Nick was wonderful and delivered almost all of them. I drove and he ran to the doors. I don't think he realized it but the whole day was kind of therapy for me. Everything reminded me of last year with Grandma down to the proud, happy smile on his face as he walked back to the car. I think it is a tradition we will have to keep up for many reasons. One being that it reminds me so much of Grandma, another being that we can make treats, a third being that it helps me be less selfish and more willing to share. Furthermore, I need to be braver. Sitting in the car was enough this year. Maybe I will actually deliver some next time. I hope my neighbors like treats :)