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  • Ann D. Watson

Christmas Cookies

decorated cookies
Cookies decorated by Emily Bissonnette

My family celebrates Christmas by making and decorating gingerbread cookies. Mom and Dad started it in the 1940s when my eldest siblings were preschoolers.

Wendy (1942–2017) and Peter (1944–2015) Watson in our kitchen in Putney, Vermont, decorating cookies, Christmas 1948. Note the Pepperidge Farm whole wheat bread, corn meal from the Vermont Country Store in Weston, raw sugar, and the Gold Medal flour, all on the shelf above the kids. Mom was into natural foods long before they were the thing in the general public.

Each advent season we spent hours baking and decorating cookies, then hung them on the Christmas tree, where the dogs ate them off the lower branches and the people from the higher ones.

Dad, who in addition to his artist skills was good at many things, took to making cooky cutters in his workshop. He cut strips of galvanized tin, bent them into shapes, and soldered them together. I used to love watching the magic of a thin wire of solder melting as he held it to the soldering iron, and dripping onto whatever he was "glueing."

When I grew up and started my own household, Dad gave me my own set of cooky cutters. Here are a few.

The Statue of Liberty is about 9 inches high and always a challenge to bake and remove from the tin without breaking the arm off.

Although I haven't made any rolled cookies this year, the family tradition carried on and today my daughter, her husband, and their eight-year-old were gathered around their kitchen table decorating their own gingerbread cutouts. Here are a few of their creations:

Children really enjoy decorating cookies.

Cooky by Maurice Bissonnette

Cookies by Emily Bissonnette

A Very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, happy Kwanzaa, and all other Festivals of Light to All!

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1 comentário

27 de dez. de 2021

Having grown up in the household featured here, I particularly enjoyed this blog post. I love the arc of it: the old black and white photo of our older siblings hard at work decorating, then Ann's cooky cutters made by our father, followed by the cookies decorated by Ann's daughter and her family. It's a beautiful example of how a family tradition can be carried on.

Notice in the photograph that the decorative icing is being applied with (burnt-out) wooden matches. I remember how painstaking that can be, as the tip of a matchstick holds so little icing. Nonetheless, it worked! In my family now, we have switched to using various sizes of inexpensive watercolor paintbrushes--used only for icing!--which gives…

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