Annual Cookie Party

9:51 AM

Established in 1987.

So, I can't really take credit for this cool, annual event...but I've been in attendance for a pretty damn long time.

Technically she's my 2nd cousin, but she feels more like an older sister. We call her Joy, but she goes by Clem to those who went to school with her. It is her and her group of girlfriends who took Lil and I in and let us be a part of their holiday FUNstivities since we were really little.
 
From gallivanting up to Apple Hill to cut down Christmas trees to the annual cookie party, these women have been in our lives for a long time. They've watched us grow and in turn, we've watch them get married, have children, and grow careers. They have all taken us in, somewhat like little sisters or cousins. They are family. Their kids are now our family.

All that being said, I swear I've done a post on cookie party, but I guess I haven't, which it so deservedly needs to be done.

I've been in attendance over two decades, gah...that's a long time! It's one holiday event I try my hardest not to miss, which I've been pretty good at. Just like we do with our annual girls nights, its not too complicated, but getting everyone together is what always seems to be the challenge. Thankfully, Joy sends out the text over a month before the event so we can all save the date.

What does annual cookie party entail? Did you really have to ask...

Well, everyone selects a cookie recipe (or three) and brings the ingredients. Then they all bake in a chaotic, beautiful mess. They have it down to a science these days, with double ovens and overlapping bakings -- its fun to watch. Certain women make their traditional cookies each year, others bring new recipes to try out -- it always changes.

One thing that doesn't, is ME. I never bake. I just hang out and eat all the foods. But this year I changed it up. I've been craving decorating cookies. Can you crave an activity? HAHA! I stopped by Target on the way to the party to grab the recipe ingredients, then I saw a Betty Crocker bag mix for $1.50 and threw all the items in my cart back on the shelves. Forget making the mix, it was already done for me and cheaper to do so -- Baller-on-a-budget! I did need eggs, which I bought, and butter, which I forgot to grab. I also bought the pre-made frosting, some sprinkles, and holiday cookie cutters.
I debated, for a long time, if I should buy the fancy sprinkles. But then I cheaped out and got just simple red and green sprinkles. To my surprise, one of the gals brought her entire supply of sprinkles AND I'm talking about a whole supply, so many cool ones -- gingerbread men, candy canes, Christmas trees, snowflakes -- yes  those are all sprinkles, on top of a handful of jars of regular mutli-holiday-colored sprinkles too! She upped my cookie decorating game by a million!
No one tells you that even though you skimped on the packaged cookie dough mix, you still have to roll all that dough out and use the cute cookie cut outs over and over and OVER, until all the dough is used. It's a long freakin' process, which is why the second bag was never opened. But I was super excited to decorate the cookies after they cooled off. Again, I didn't splurge on the food coloring or icing tools for the cookies. But I may step my game up next year and buy everything. I heard Joanne's has great deals and all the stuff I'll need for next year (a pro-tip one year early)! The white frosting worked just fine, the sprinkles really made the cookies pop. Since there weren't any kids around, I (along with Cathi) had to decorate almost all of the cookies. I did finagle two of the older kids to decorate one cookie each, but my nephew wouldn't even do one! I can't lie, I loved every minute of decorating the cookies, it's really one of my fave things to do. Cathy and I were mercilessly teased for our decorating antics, but we were just in our own little decorating world!
Another fun tradition of cookie party is that Tracy always makes her famous chili and brings Frito's and cheddar cheese to top it off with. It's soooo good, even though I pick out the beans! Everyone else brings kid-friendly and fattening food to share with everyone, potluck style. Oddly, this year not many kids were in attendance so there was a lot of food left over and meant that I had to decorate a lot of cookies.

Just imagine a lovely Sunday afternoon with some chill and (pretty amazing and accomplished) fun women, baking, eating, and relaxing. Yes, even during the holidays. I always say these women are me and my girl friends in 15 years, still close, friends that became family!

At the end of the day, the dining room table has all the cookies plated for everyone to grab their to-go tins, plates, bags, or whatever and stuff them to take home and share with their families. That is if sticky fingers (re: the lovebugs) don't eat all the cookies before its time to leave ;)
I'm glad these ladies took us in over two decades ago and haven't looked back!

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