Monday, December 27, 2010

When You Can't Afford Christmas

Do you remember the days when all you had to do was bake a tray of cookies and set out a glass of milk for presents to arrive fully wrapped and tinseled underneath your tree? Since then we have been assimilated into the month and a half of frantic shopping and pillaging to provide our friends and loved ones with the perfect and most impressive gifts.

The validity of a gift has become the whopping price tag, and the esteem with which you hold a loved one can only be expressed by how many weeks pay you poured into the filling of their gift-wrap. Of all the gifts I have received from friends, the ones that I cling to the most fondly are those that were made for me: hand written cards, silly drawings and folded candy wrappers clutter my walls in matching frames. Much to my best friend's embarrassment, I have kept a silly purple pillow with "raf and dar friends 4----->" coarsely stitched into it since fall of 2005 when he gave it to me for my birthday. Aren't time and love really the only things we can truly give each other? If we are competing to give each other equally priced gifts, why don't we just exchange blank checks and go buy ourselves whatever we wanted in the first place.

Every year, I try to show my friends that I really care about them. I build books and stuff handmade dolls, bake cakes and build things it would be much easier just to buy, but this year it seems I couldn't even afford to buy the paper and canvas to fuel my workshop. This year, I decided that maybe it is enough to bake a tray of cookies and set out a glass of milk.

I am constantly collecting beautiful boxes and ribbons, in fact I get things gift wrapped for myself, so I can come home, unwrap them and reuse the unique trimming. I filled my preciously collected bins and baggies with four of my favorite cookie recipes. I spent the greater part of two days rolling dough and filling pastry bags, tying bows and rolling ribbon. I made heart shaped lemon shortbread cookies with raspberry filling, coconut macaroon cookies with a chocolate drizzle, miniature pecan tarts with lemon zest and chocolate macaron sandwich cookies with an almond buttercream filling.

Much to my disappointment, I found baking specialty cookies is no less expensive than making any other gift, but I was happy with the results and I hope that my friends know that I truly love all of them and wish them each a happy holiday and spectacular new year.

Much love,

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