Growing up, we didn’t have sweets around the house too often. However, when Christmas time arrived all that changed. There was a Christmas cookie “vault” at both my house and my Nanny’s house. Inside each “vault”, stacked every way possible, sat what seemed a thousand colorfully decorated, round tins each housing a different sweet. Hidden in each was a tin full of the coveted cheese straws.
The design on that cheese straw tin was only known by Nanny. It was a code to hide the tree from the forest. Christmas cookies have always been a tradition in my family. We probably had 15-20 different types, all hand-made. My mom and Nanny did the grunt work and, as my Nanny’s health began to deteriorate, my mom began to make more. She continues the tradition today.
I remember seeing a red and green Christmas wreath cookie on the cover of a December issue of Southern Living and asking if we could make those. We, as a family, gathered around the kitchen table, half covered with a cooling blanket, the other half for rolling cookies, and we sat and rolled little balls of red and green cookie dough to make the wreaths. It seemed that it took forever, but that didn’t matter. We have had those wreaths every year since.
I can’t help it when I see a cookie tin. I always think of my family and the holidays. The tins themselves may seem a small thing, but when you have seen the same tins once a year for your whole life, they suddenly mean a lot. It was always about what was inside, and it wasn’t the cookie. Yeah, they’re great, but it was much more. Inside those tins lay years of memories and love that my mom and Nanny created over the years. It’s crazy how a cookie tin can mean so much.