How sugar cookies became a Christmas tradition for Tammy Lewis
As Christmas quickly draws near, I am inundated by a myriad of memories from my childhood. In particular, I remember that every year, a few days prior to Christmas Eve, my dad would come home with last-minute presents to be wrapped, assorted sparkling colors of wrapping paper, and various foods for Christmas dinner. He would park it all on the dining room table for my mother to unpack and put away.
I was 10 years old when a few days before Christmas Eve, I helped my mom unpack Dad’s latest last-minute purchases. It was then that I noticed and realized that every year without fail, my dad would bring home bags of oranges and tangerines, bags of nuts in their shells, a tin of old fashioned hard candy, and last but not least, a box of powdered sugar cookies. I thought nothing of my discovery and mentally filed it away.
When I turned 17, my grandmother (Dad’s mother) came to visit. One day I overheard her discussing with my mom about hard times that she had endured in her past. She said that one Christmas was especially poor, and she and my grandfather had no money to spend on Christmas presents. To her surprise, a few days before Christmas Eve, neighbors stopped in for a visit.
With them, they brought gifts of oranges and tangerines, assorted nuts for shelling, a canister of hard candy, and powdered sugar cookies. She was so humbled and overcome with gratitude. Because of the neighbors’ kindness, she was able to provide treats for my dad and uncle.
As I overheard the conversation, I immediately knew that was the reason behind my dad’s last-minute purchases of the same food items. A thoughtful visit and gift from neighbors turned to a long-lasting memory for my dad, and in turn, he made it a tradition to provide the same treats for his children.
While I may not have children of my own, my nephews and nieces are near and dear to me. Just a few years ago, I relayed to them the story I overheard my grandmother tell about the oranges and nuts. Now every year as Christmas approaches, they gently remind me to make sure I remember the most important purchases of the season: bags of oranges and tangerines, nuts for shelling, old fashioned hard candy, and finally, yet importantly, powdered sugar cookies.
For my grandparents, my father and uncle, I have made sure their Christmas tradition remains alive and will be passed onto future generations.
photos by buchesandbits and sutherlandviolin
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