Yesterday I baked a gross (a dozen dozen = 144) of Gregory's Great Grandma Barbara's German Christmas Cookies, a 200+ year old recipe that uses lard, sourghum, and candied citron.
Each year the ingredients are harder to find but thanks to the internet I still am able to find them. Traditionally they are baked the day after Thanksgiving. Because they are made from a "boiled candy" type of recipe, after the cookies are baked and cool they become so hard that they cannot be eaten or even dunked in tea and eaten.
They have to be "cured" with sliced apples in a sealed container until the 25th when they will be soft enough to eat. Taste wise approximately described, the cookies are gingery, molassesy, spicy with a touch of lemony.
Yesterday, after Barbara's cookies, I baked a gross of my mother's walnut cookies. She used to make them into crescents but I use a very small mellon scoop and make what I call Adeline's Walnut Balls. Heavy on the walnuts and butter, sprinkled with powdered sugar, these delightful treats melt in your mouth.
I've started a new tradition this year, something Gregory and I had talked about before. I got a packet of 100 brand new single dollar bills from the bank. I carry them around in my pocket and give one to every beggar, derelict, homeless person who crosses my path (or do I cross their path?)
Even though the words I used are somewhat pejorative (beggar, derelict, homeless) when I give them the dollar bill I remind myself that they are like me: a person with feelings, needs, hopes, desires.
I remind myself that they are no different than I and I am no different then they in our wants and needs. We are of different circumstances, yes, but all living and breathing gifts of the universe.
I may not be able to solve their problems with one dollar, or cure all the ills of the world, but I can take a moment to smile and wish someone Merry Christmas and regard my fellow human beings.