Love of tradition is a comfort in difficult times
Tomorrow my husband and I hope to have a Christmas tree. We’re going to decorate it with a flock of fake red birds, some snowflakes my grandma crocheted a long time ago, and some sticky, but precious, ornaments.
For me, it doesn’t take much to make Christmas wonderful. I don’t need any freebies. I prefer to give them away. And I sure don’t need treats. Except the snickerdoodles my husband makes.
Basically, to celebrate, I need a few things: Family and friends. Movies (“Elf” and “Love Actually.”) Music (“O Holy Night” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”) A Christmas tree. And a candlelight service to remind me that I am celebrating the gift of a child, born in a barn to save the world.
It is more or less that. Today I made cookies, but not for Christmas. He’s an everyday guy I call “Easiest, Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever.”
I do them often. More often than I should. My grandchildren love them. Even Wiley, who is a cookie geek. Once, when I gave her one made from oatmeal, Wiley said, “Nana, I don’t want to hurt you, but that doesn’t look like a cookie.”
OK, I’ll give you the recipe for my peanut butter cookies. I’ve posted it before, but if I don’t now, I’m going to get a ton of requests. (Readers love to read, but they really love to eat.) Here it is:
Mix a cup of peanut butter with a cup of sugar and an egg. No flour. Mix well. Pour onto a greased pan to form 12 cookies. Flatten with a fork. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool down and try not to eat them all at once.
I gave most of the ones I made today to my husband and two of his friends who are having fun playing music in our garage.
Listen. Can you hear them? I can. They sound good. Cookies probably help.
I really like these guys. I especially like what they mean to my husband. They have been his friends and fellow musicians for years. Making music is their way of spending time together. It’s like a book club without the books.
Last week I spoke at a luncheon for a group of women who have met monthly for over 30 years to talk about books and life. During the pandemic, they began to meet only online. Lunch was their first face-to-face meeting in almost two years.
I wish you were here. It was like a family reunion.
On his Christmas debut album, Andy Williams sang what would become a classic, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”.
It was 1963, a year very similar to this, when violence and conflict threatened to tear our lives and our nation apart.
US military engagement in Vietnam was intensifying. In August, more than 200,000 people marched through Washington, DC in support of civil rights and heard Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. And on November 22, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Some years, more than others, we need Christmas to be the most wonderful time of the year.
A time filled with family, friends, music and laughter, and candlelit services to remind us why we celebrate.
A time that makes us grateful for all we have, and happy to help those who have less.
A time that brings us together, with all our many differences, in peace, hope and joy.
We wish everyone the kind of Christmas we need – a most wonderful time of the year. Yes, the cookie recipe is your gift.
Sharon Randall is the author of “The World and Then Some”. She can be reached at PO Box 922, Carmel Valley CA 93924 or www.sharonrandall.com