A new holiday tradition
I read Mildred Kalish's exuberant depression-era memoir Little Heathens over the summer, and was so inspired by her family's spirited ingenuity in times of dire need. They were inventive when it came to special occasions like Christmas, and gave one another homemade scarves, pies and toys as gifts. Throughout the book, Kalish never gives the impression they suffered for want of better things; rather, it seems that her family relished in the work, and had fun doing it. Fun is not something you would normally equate with the Great Depression, but that's what makes Kalish's perspective unique.
I wanted to apply a similiar can-do philosophy to Christmas this year. Being unemployed has meant that I have more time to devote to the holidays but less money to spend. I've been an industrious knitter, and most people on my list will be receiving homemade gifts. Although I wish my circumstances were different, designing and crafting presents for those I care about, with my own two hands, has me looking forward to Christmas morning more than in years past.
In keeping with this theme, some friends and I decided to have a cookie trade party, where we all produced a recipe and its essential ingredients and came together to bake and share.
We made over a dozen batches of different cookie recipes, working from 4pm to 9pm straight. We were so engrossed in our baking that we didn't even notice when it started to snow outside.
When we finished, we each had at least 3 dozen cookies to give as presents and eat at home and new recipes for next year. The ingredients for my recipe cost a grand total of $30.00, and were mostly things that you would have in your cupboard anyway.
Tins from a local consignment shop completed the gift. Tip: My mom always throws a couple slices of bread in with her cookies while storing them. It keeps them fresh and soft.