Holiday traditions tend to start during times of change. When couples meet, get married, have kids, buy a new home. There once was a drastic change in my life that caused such a tradition to start.
My older sister, Tina and I were raised by my dad in Connecticut. When we were in elementary school, my mom and step-dad moved about 2 hours away to Pennsylvania. For many years, we spent weekends, school breaks and summer vacations travelling back and forth. She and I had our ups and downs, as all sisters do, but throughout our lives, we were each other’s constant.
The summer I was 14 I found out that I would be returning to my dad’s on my own. Tina would be finishing out high school living with my mom. I was devastated. I didn’t know what I would do without her. I started high school as an ‘only’ child for all intents and purposes. It was a strange feeling for all of us.
Christmas time came and Tina decided to come spend it at my dad’s house. On Christmas eve morning, we decided to bake some cookies……something we hadn’t done in many years. There was a special sugar cookie that we made, it was shaped like a heart and had colored sugar in a rainbow pattern. Once they were in the oven, I started to feel ill. I ended up spending Christmas eve in bed with a fever and upset stomach. After the cookies were done baking, Tina came in and gave me the special sugar cookie. Still not feeling well, I put it under the little tree that sat on the nightstand in our room.
Once the holidays were over and I was putting away decorations, I realized that the cookie had gotten stale….but I didn’t want to throw it away. I sat it in a little basket on a shelf in my room.
The next Christmas came around and, as a joke, I wrapped up the cookie and gave it back to her. This became a long-standing tradition. After about 5 or 6 years the original cookie started to crumble, so we decided to bake a new one, used beads instead of sugar crystals and put a clear coat it. This year will be our 24th year to pass the cookie…..by far, the longest standing tradition in our family.