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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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5.5 Reasons to Do a Cookie Exchange – Hint: It’s Not Just About the Cookies

I have a confession. I HATE to make cookies. I have never enjoyed mixing dough. I’m impatient when the little darlings are in the oven. And we have a vintage Wedgewood stove from the 1950s which is strong on design and collectability, but has a runaway thermostat. Turn your back and your cookies are deflagrating at 500+ degrees.

So why did I, a total morning person, stay up until midnight last night, mixing batch after batch of high-cal morsels, starting over with brand new ingredients (thanks for going to the store, Gary) after discovering a weevil, artfully (sort of) twisting red and white dough into candy cane shapes, while totally trashing my kitchen with powdered sugar and wayward flour? Because I LOVE my neighbors and am willing to wrangle with my oven and stay up past my usual 9:15 bedtime to hang out with them at a cookie exchange. And, of course, it was worth it.

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Our neighbors Caitlyn, Jerrad, and Ivy are incredibly creative. They set up a lovely gathering with boxes, ribbon and decorative stamps for packaging the cookies plus lots of appetizers and drinks. With each of us bringing six dozen cookies, the table was thoroughly bedecked with holiday treats.

Why do a cookie exchange? Our neighbors came up with lots of reasons. Here are 5.5 of our favorites:

1. You get to find out what is happening in the neighborhood. Who is performing in concert with her madrigal group? Who is having squirrel problems? Why was a neighbor taken to the hospital in an ambulance? You don’t learn these things in the newspaper or on Facebook.

2. You get to see how much the children have grown. Our little exchange had a 3.5-year-old, a toddler and two babies, including a month-old new neighbor who mostly slept through the evening. Our neighborhood is attracting young families. It’s fun to see how much their kids change over the years.

3. You get to welcome new neighbors. We were delighted that our newest neighbors joined us.

4. You see your neighbors’ latest remodeling projects, and get ideas for your own home. Most of our houses are 80 to 100-years-old. Believe me, we are all regularly updating and looking for cool ideas.

5. You can escape from reality tv to real life. Getting to know your neighbors is reality, not the latest television show.

5.5. In the words of the Cookie Monster, “Cookie!” Somebody said “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.” We’ll be slowly savoring ours so we should have a balanced diet through Christmas. Thank you, Caitlyn, Jerrad, and Ivy!

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1 Shawna { 12.21.09 at 1:18 pm }

Reason #6 – I spotted the holiday ‘spirits’ in the background over your right shoulder 😉

2 admin { 12.21.09 at 2:11 pm }

Oh yes, the ‘spirits,’ too!!!

3 Susan Smith Gippin { 12.24.09 at 8:05 am }

I feel totally guilty after reading this column as I am the younger, rounder Smith sister who definitely is a night person and a total cookie monster. I remember devouring handfuls of our grandmother’s cookies from her bountiful farm frig in Iowa while my taller, thinner sister stood by and gawked at my indiscretion. Because I liked sweets and our mother wasn’t so interested and apparently my sister wasn’t either, I learned to bake and and as an adult am considered the family baker. I have 3 ovens and have turned out 8 dozen sugar cookies with homemade frosting that family and friends request — this season. I feel so guilty that I kept my sister from wanting to learn to bake!

4 admin { 12.24.09 at 10:12 am }

I think I have the solution – rum balls! The Food section of The Columbian reminded me that rum balls don’t have to be baked AND contain rum (no surprise!). The perfect combination for me!

5 Mary { 12.28.09 at 8:51 pm }

And the rum balls were DELICIOUS Katlin!

6 Knowing Your Neighbors Can Save Your Life – 9 Ways to Get to Get Neighborly — Southwest Washington ZEST { 06.26.12 at 3:50 pm }

[…] Holiday Cookie bake – This takes some preparation but is a fun way to kick off the holidays. Invite neighbors to make a large batch of their favorite cookies. Each participant will then choose a collection of cookies. Our neighbor, Caitlyn, had cute boxes and ribbons prepared for us. See 5.5 Reasons to do a Cookie Bake. […]

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