I just baked cookies. Homemade, decorated sugar cookies are a tradition with my boys. We make cookies, fudge and divinity three days before Christmas to give to all of our neighbors. (We eat as much as we give away) The smell is my kitchen right now is divine. If I could capture the smell and put it in this post I would, but you'll just have to imagine it right now. (One sniff and you gain a pound! It's that good.)
I'm hoping the crumbs don't drop into my laptop.
I taught a science lesson this year asking kids to explain (scientifically of course) how Santa could deliver all of the toys he had to deliver in one night. I have taught this lesson before, and find so many exciting explanations. Of course Santa can build a time machine in his toy shop, and well -- DUH -- the Space Shuttle with the Space Station as a holding place for toys seems logical; well there are tons of logical and very scientific ways to get millions of toys to millions of kids in one night. If I were smarter I'm sure I'd have thought of all of them and never have to ask a kid the answer.
I taught this lesson again this year, but at the end of it I realized that this year, where I live, we need Santa. See, I live in South Texas. I look around my neighborhood to find homes devastated by Hurricane Ike. I go to my favorite haunts and find that they don't exist any more. Kids are homeless, parents jobless and magical intervention would rock.
While this is happening to me in my little part of the world I also see and hear about children suffering, parents worldwide worrying about the health of their children, illiteracy rates in poor countries remaining high, children being sold into slavery, or stolen from their parents; the list could go on forever. *sigh*
I have thought much about The Ghost of Christmas Present from Charles Dickens' novel "A Christmas Carol." While helping teach our old buddy Scrooge a few things, he also sprinkled hope on the poor, saying they needed it most of all. Many times since I watched my community wash away have we needed hope, and many times my friends filled in for The Ghost of Christmas Present, filling us with hope when we'd lost everything else.
There are too many people in this world suffering; too many people need the magic of Hope sprinkled on them.
When Harry Potter first showed up at Hogwarts, he took small steps in the direction of making the world a better and safer place. He choose the right friends, he trusted learned adults and he worked hard to fit into this magical world he found himself in. Slowly, Harry became hope to wizards and muggles alike.
So, where is this long circle of a post going you ask?
As I sit here munching on my oatmeal-raisin-chocolate chip cookie, (I'm on cookie #2, my poor thighs) I think of the friends who helped me this year. (Hey guys - you totally rock)
There are so many ways to help spread the magic, give one less present and try it. Simple things like Toys for Tots, Jingle Spells or any other charity you love. Spread the holiday magic this year by giving one less present, and passing on the love of the season.
And to all the kids I taught the "Santa's Science Experiment" with over the years: guys, believe in magic. Santa is only there if you believe. Now go teach that lesson to the rest of the world and spread the magic of hope. Harry did it in his fictional world, now it's your turn.
Since I'm baking I thought I'd share a new cookie recipe that I totally love!
Hot Mamma Choclate Cookies
(Thanks to Sheri, the best friend ever and the person who shared this recipe with me)
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 4 to 6 ounces semisweet chocolate for decoration
- Cream butter and sugar; add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients, add to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed.
- If dough seems too soft, add small amounts of flour, up to 1/4 cup more flour. Divide dough into three portions, shape into flattened rounds, wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a well-floured board, roll out one dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and set 1 to 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Re-roll leftover dough and cut more. Repeat with remaining dough portions.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just crisp. Do not allow to darken. Cool on racks.
- Melt chocolate and drizzle over cookies. Allow to harden before serving. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.