DIY Holiday Cookie Box
There's something really beautiful about the fact that for one whole month out of the year, people go around willingly making enormous messes of their kitchens and gifting each other pretty baked goods in even prettier paper boxes. It's just...so...LOVELY.
And totally out of the ordinary.
SIGH. I just can't get enough.
When I was little, I’d head to my best friend Caroline’s house each December to bake pecan puffs and chocolate crinkles and peppermint-scented red and white things…beautiful cookies with beautiful names. We’d spend the whole day getting our hands messy, laughing, and pulling sheet pan after warm, cookie-filled sheet pan out of the oven (with an inordinate amount of parental supervision, OBVIOUSLY) (we were very cool kids). Year after year, we’d giddily count down the days to “cookie day” while reminiscing about the past year. It was our December paradise—a really, really special day. And we’ve still got the polaroids and laugh lines to prove it.
But the whole thing revolved around Christmas—a holiday I'd never celebrated, let alone witnessed—and no matter how many years the tradition went on, it always felt the tiniest bit foreign. Marvelous and fun and unforgettable and sentimental, yes…but foreign.
When I look back now, I see that that must have been part of the appeal. I was a happy tourist with flour-coated hands, enjoying a peek at a colorful new world.
But it was special to get that peek, and to share that day with Caroline. It was just as special when she’d come over for the first night of Passover and sit through my family's seder, giggling with me as we dipped our pinkies into grape juice and caterwauled through “Dayenu.”
We all inhabit these different worlds: the worlds of our faiths, our family’s favorite recipes, our totally indescribable jobs, our regrets and joys and lunch orders. Our stories. As Jews, that's something we’re sort of forced to recognize early on. Nearly every occasion underscores that alien status, and marks us, in one way or another, as outsiders.
But there’s a beauty in seeing those lines and stepping over them. There's so much to learn from visiting the world of a friend, or a stranger—from tying on an apron and seeing how the light looks from inside their kitchens.
If you will.
…And that, I suppose, is a rather long-winded way of introducing these Hanukkah-ified cookie boxes.
I’ve linked the four recipes below, but beyond that, there are no fancy instructions here…just a simple idea that I hope will inspire you to spend some time in your kitchen this year. Bring your children or best friends, bring a desire to make something carefully and deliberately…then wrap up your world and share it with someone else.