Christmas is hands-down my favorite holiday. From decorating the tree to singing carols, wrapping gifts to lighting candles at the Christmas Eve service…the beloved traditions are endless. One I remember fondly is making spritz cookies with my grandma.

It would be difficult to put my relationship with my grandma into words. Nothing would come close to expressing what she meant to me and what an incredible lady she was. When I was in second grade she moved in with my family. Regardless if she had lived with our family or not, I do believe we would have had a close relationship because we were kindred spirits. However, this particular arrangement proved to be a life altering deal for me. Seeing her every day, living life with her, allowed me to know her on a more intimate level. I cherish the afternoons of sitting on her bed, looking at family photos and hearing stories of her childhood. Faithfully watching Oprah while playing poker and gin rummy at her game table. Being familiar with her daily rituals of eating Puffed Rice with a sliced banana in the morning, wearing skirts and pantyhose every day, and the way she would habitually arrange and re-arrange her silverware on her placemat. She was and always will be one of my favorite people of all time.

Each year, Grandma would unearth her cookie press after Thanksgiving for her annual spritz cookie bake-athon. Spritz cookies are a fairly plain butter cookie. Not much to look at…but highly addictive. She was never distracted by all the shapes that come with a cookie press. She was devoted to her star shape that produced a simple, yet refined, wreath-shaped cookie. She unpretentiously decorated them with green and red sugar sprinkles. She would crank out 5 dozen in an afternoon, cooling them on the kitchen table on brown paper bags. And then packaged up two tins for my aunt in Georgia and my uncle in California…leaving the rest for our family to devour that week.

When she passed away in 2003, I inherited her cookie press and have continued the tradition since. I have experimented with different decorations and shapes but quickly recognized that her ways were tried and true. And while I bake, I listen to Christmas music and remember the sweet afternoons of watching Grandma press out the cookies while she let me add the sprinkles.

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
-Kurt Vonnegut

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