Cookie tradition one that keeps on giving
December 14, 2012 4:26PM
Minooka United Methodist Church women display just a sampling of home baked cookies before they flew off the tables at the annual Christmas cookie sale to benefit mission work. | submitted photo
Updated: January 18, 2013 6:07AM
There is nothing like participating in a holiday tradition to create and maintain special memories. One of my very favorites is baking Christmas cookies.
Over the years the tradition has taken different forms. One year I participated in a holiday cookie exchange with a group of friends.
For a few years I helped my friend and neighbor, Dorothy Macejik, when she invited a group of pre-teen girls over for a learn-to-bake session. When the one group of girls got too old to enjoy it, she started teaching a second group. Their favorite part was eating all the “mistakes.”
The best times, of course, were when my kids were little and they “helped” bake and decorate sugar cookies. We always ended up with some strange shapes and odd colors.
This year was the first time in many, many years that I got to do Christmas baking with my mom. She visited from Michigan for two weeks this month, and together we baked her special fruitcakes — loved by many — and my personal favorite pecan fingers.
The members of two local churches — Minooka United Methodist and Channahon United Methodist — hold a holiday cookie sale every year. The cookies are baked by church members and sold by the bucketful. The money they make goes to the United Methodist Women for mission work they do.
The cookie sales, which are held on different days, start at 8:30 or 9 in the morning. And within a short amount of time most of the home-baked goodies are gone.
A line of cookie buyers can be seen a good 15 minutes or more before Channahon United Methodist Church even opens its doors, said church member Laurie Raeburn.
Last year the group sold more than 700 dozen of the tasty treats, and this year they hoped to surpass that number when they held their sale this past Saturday.
They not only make many of everyone’s old favorites like gingerbread men, but they try to come up with new variations every year. Raeburn even baked gluten-free cookies this year and they turned out awesome, she said.
One year the crowd was so large, people were grabbing cookies off the trays as they were brought out of the kitchen.
Minooka United Methodist Church had its cookie sale the previous Saturday, and it went excellent, said United Methodist Women President Kim Nave.
They spent two solid days baking the cookies that their return customers come in for, including peppermint cookies, cute little teddy bears, peanut butter blossoms and their locally famous and beautifully custom decorated sugar cookies.
They, too, had hundreds of dozens of cookies, said Nave.
Local people (including myself a few years) love to go and pick out their own cookies. Many just don’t have time to do their own baking, some are seeking certain types of cookies and others are looking for special homemade gifts.
People get there early so they can be the first in line to get the best cookies, Nave said.
But all the cookies are delicious, which is why the cookie sales are so successful.
Besides supplying the communities with wonderful home-baked cookies, the money that both United Methodist Women groups make goes to help many others.
The women in Minooka, for instance, do sewing projects as one of their mission projects. They made special pillow cases for the Methodist Children’s home in Southern Illinois. They also made 53 dresses and 52 pairs of shorts that were shipped to Africa. They provide scholarships and sponsor young adults in Third World countries.
The Channahon UM women support the Marcy Newberry Association for seniors and after-school programs for children. They also sponsor a program that helps women in Africa start small businesses, Raeburn said.
Any cookies that are left over from the church sales either go to shut-ins or to other area people in need.
What a wonderful way to share a holiday tradition.
Reach Kris Stadalsky at email@example.com.