Twelve days before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring except me, the elf. I swore last Christmas I was not going to bake EVER AGAIN! But I just can’t help that I’m a sucker for an icing-covered sugar cookie with jimmies on top. Nobody makes them quite like me, I’m told – at least that’s what my daughters say, buttering me up so I butter up all those cookie sheets up once again. So, while they’re nestled all snug in their beds with visions of cookies dancing in their heads, I speak not a word and get straight to my work.
The kitchen’s a furnace, the oven is blazing, the heat is arising and at recipes I’m gazing. The frost is still thawing on a cold December morn, and yet as I run around the kitchen, beads of sweat form. Away to the window I fly like a flash for cool air – my cheeks are like roses, my nose like a cherry. As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, so my rolling pin, spatula and cookie cutters I try.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear but pounds of butter and margarine softening and tons of baking goodies so dear. With a wink of my eye and a twist of my head, I see I have nothing to dread. I thumb through my recipe cards, which are tattered and stained. I stroke the ones beautifully scripted by my Mom, and my heart is suddenly pained. I’m hurled back in time, baking with my Mom and feeling so fine. There I am, a little girl with blonde curls, dusting and decorating those fine pastry pearls. I miss Mom so much, my heart is aching, but then I get back to my dough which is caking.
Traditions…they’ll drive you crazy, but skip them and your lazy. So I whistle and shout and call them by name, “Now, Toll House! Now, Christmas Bells! Now, Chocolate Chunk and Sugar Raisin! On, Peanut Butter Kiss! On, Chocolate Mint! On Cream Cheese Lekvar and Nut Ball! To the top of the oven, to the top of the rack, now dash away, dash away, dash away all! Out of the kitchen there arises such a clatter, but no one comes to see what is the matter – they know it’s just me trying to make everyone fatter.
Hours later the heat circles my head like a wreath, and I’m beginning to seethe. My hair has turned flour-white as snow, giving the luster of mid-day to objects below. Chocolate is smeared on my scarlet red cheeks; nuts and raisins are stuck in my teeth. Some cookies are torched; my forearm is scorched. Nails are encrusted with dough; yet the old mixer still goes.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear – 1124 cookies and high cholesterol to fear. My hips are aching, my wrists are numb and in spite of it all, Christmas Carols I hum. By the New Year I know I’ll be all chubby and plump – with a belly shaking like a bowlful of jelly.
“I will DEFINITELY NOT bake like this EVER AGAIN!” I sneer, but everyone knows they have nothing to fear.
I spring to my bed and turn off the light. “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”