It wouldn’t be Christmas if Kristen Curtis, left, wasn’t baking cookies with her mother, Michelle. Photo courtesy of Kristen Curtis

A sweet Christmas tradition: baking cookies with mom

By  Kristen Curtis, The Catholic Register
  • December 22, 2015

My hands are covered in flour and my mom is wrist deep in dough. The oven is preheated and the cookie trays are lined with parchment paper. She asks me to choose the cookie cutter for this year, and I select the angel.

The cookie cutter slices through the dough, carving festive angels. I decorate them with gold coloured sprinkles. Soon, our house will be toasty warm and smell sweet with hints of vanilla.

Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have baked cookies with my mom in preparation for the Christmas holidays. Christmas has always been a treasured time for me to spend with my mom, dad and younger sister Caitlin. We always celebrate the birth of our Saviour together.

Some years, we spend Christmas Day with extended family, which requires a few extra batches of cookies. Other years, like this one, we’ll have a quieter and more intimate Christmas with just the four of us.

My mom is a registered nurse in Toronto. She works night shifts caring for sick babies, children and teenagers. This year, as often is the case, she is scheduled to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So baking together gives me an opportunity to spend time with her.

We also shop and run errands together before Christmas, but that is more out of necessity than passion. The hectic environments of the mall and grocery store are not ideal places to chat, laugh and connect. For that, we have our kitchen.

As the oldest of four children, my mom learned to bake from her mother. My grandma was a feisty Maritimer from Prince Edward Island with Irish roots. Her husband is of Acadian descent, so she would cook and bake an array of dishes.

Her specialties were homemade bread, biscuits, fudge, peanut brittle and seafood chowder. At Christmastime, she would bake sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, date squares and molasses cookies from family recipes.

These were passed down to my mom who has shared them with me and my sister.

One of the ways my mom has always expressed her love for friends and family is by baking treats for them. At Christmas, it’s become something we do together.

This year we’ll extend the tradition by baking Christmas cookies — chocolate chip, shortbread and sugar cookies — with our five-year-old neighbour Abi. Some years we also bake gingerbread cookies, if they are requested.

Thanks to my mom, I have become a competent baker. It is a life skill that I cherish.

But I’ve come to realize that although we may bake cookies what I’ve really been making are cherished memories of time spent enjoying a labour of love with my mom at Christmas.

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