Every year since I can remember my parents have hosted a holiday Cookie Party. Instead of everyone bringing cookies to share or coming over and decorating cookies my mom bakes all the cookies and then invites friends and family over to help diminish the supply. Starting just after Thanksgiving my mom’s Atlanta kitchen is filled with the sweet smell of baking cookies. Each year the supply of cookies is a bit different – a few have been around since the party started like the Forgotten Cookies, the Neapolitan and the Lemon Cheese Logs (my favorite)but each year we try a few new ones and retire a few old ones. (This year some healthier granola and raspberry options were added while old fashioned Rum Balls were retried.) Bringing your own cookies is strictly discouraged, but several new cookies have been introduced this way none the less. My now husband brought Buckeye Balls to his first cookie party and they have been on the menu ever since (this year they were all gone an hour into the party!)
Regardless of what cookies come and go the house is always filled with the whole family’s friends from the 30 some years my family has been in Atlanta. Many of our friends regard the cookie party as their family’s holiday tradition as much as we do. In 2009 the Cookie Party took a hiatus as we spent our first Christmas away from Atlanta in Mendocino, CA . We heard from many of our friends fearing they had been taken off the cookie party invite list – but in 2010 as we returned to Atlanta to celebrate the Holidays the Cookie Party was back in full swing.
Perhaps my favorite part of the cookie party comes the day before the big event when my two best friends, Mary and Catherine, come over to decorate the sugar cookie cutouts. Some years the cut-outs look better than others, but each year this is the time for the three of us to laugh as we get covered in sugar, trying our best to harness our creative side. A day later, our creations, always a favorite with the little ones, can be found half eaten strewn throughout the house.
Many of my fondest memories are from the Cookie Party – finding out about engagements, meeting new little ones as they run through the house picking up every cookie in sight and catching up with old friends we haven’t seen all year and isn’t that what the Holidays are all about!