On Sunday, my daughters and I spent the day making cookies. This is not something we do every year. I consider myself a good cook, but baking is something entirely different. With cooking, you can fudge on the time or ingredients and no one is the wiser. If you do that with baking, you will come out with something undercooked and gooey or overcooked and hard as a rock. However, our baking on Sunday came out great.

We spent most of the day baking and an hour or so shopping for the ingredients. After we were done, we spent another hour plating and delivering the cookies. When we got home, a pile of bowls, cookie sheets and spoons needed to be cleaned and put away. The whole project, start to finish took us about ten hours to complete.

Ten hours. The whole day. To make cookies. That we gave away. Why? I could have done a lot of things during those ten hours. I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet. I still had to address some cards. I haven’t even thought about wrapping. There is always laundry to do and with two black Labs, I always need to vacuum. What about just relaxing? I have been working like a dog (no pun intended) this season. I had to extend my hours to accommodate everyone. I even worked on Saturday which is something I promised not to do. So why would I spend the whole day making cookies?

Because it is the Christmas season. I thought it would be nice to do something with my kids that didn’t involve us being at a soccer field, softball diamond or theatre. I also wanted to extend more of the season than a Christmas card to our neighbors and friends. Outside of a wave as we pass in the car, I don’t see them as much as I used to. Our lives have gotten so busy.

In a perfect world, I would have a simpler Christmas. Everyone would get one gift – something they really wanted or needed. Of all the gifts I bought this year, there isn’t one gift that someone is going to go crazy for. I would love to see some Carolers at our door. I told my oldest daughter that she and her friends should do that. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Go ring someone’s doorbell and then start singing? People will think that’s crazy.”

My kids thought it was strange to bring cookies to everyone. Like someone is going to refuse a plate of cookies. I told them to put on Santa hats, ring the doorbell and say “Merry Christmas”. Every person smiled back in surprise to see the cookies and thanked them. The kids came back home smiling because smiling is contagious.

My husband and I tell the kids to practice random acts of kindness whenever possible. My husband is especially good at it. I have seen him pull over many times to help someone push a stalled car. He has helped lift TVs and other big boxes into cars as we walk by them in the parking lot. He frequents McDonalds for his daily Diet Coke fix and often buys breakfast for the car behind him.

One night last week, my kids and I were running into the grocery store for some last minute dinner items. It was 7:00 and we were coming home from their activities. We were all starving so we tried to be quick. My son saw the Salvation Army bell ringer and asked for some money. I gave him the singles I had in my purse. It was a cold night and I noticed how bundled up the man was. He said, “Merry Christmas” to us as my son dropped in the money. After our shopping, we saw him again. He remembered us and said “Merry Christmas” as we passed. I told him to stay warm and he said “I’m trying”.

When we got to the car, I told the kids we had one more stop. They groaned about it because they were hungry. I drove to the other end of the mall and picked up a Caribou Coffee gift card. I told the kids that the bell ringer looked cold and I wanted to give him something to warm up. My oldest daughter wanted to give him the card so she jumped out as we drove back to the store. He, like my neighbors, was surprised and pleased with this small act of the Christmas spirit. My daughter was smiling as she got back in the car. I asked her what he said and she told me he said “God Bless You”.

He already has.