I am getting so excited for Christmas (even though I have none of my shopping done). What could be better than spending time with the people you love, eating delicious foods and enjoying time outside in the snow (I love it when it snows those big fluffy snowflakes!). More than anything though, what makes me feel that Christmas is around the corner is baking with my best friend.
We have a tradition (for over 10 years now) of doing an insane amount of baking just before Christmas. We bake for about 5 full days, from about 8am until 11pm non-stop. There have been times where we’ve actually stayed up past 2am baking and decorating cookies. We book days off from work months in advance, have a huge ingredient list and a strict cookie baking schedule. We make about 25 different kinds of cookies, spend another day arranging plates of cookies and then hand them out to our closest friends. We love handing out the cookies and seeing how happy they make people. So that’s what I spent the majority of last week doing.
This year we made about 40-50 plates of cookies. Often our friends bring us wine, flowers, etc. in exchange. While we really appreciate their thoughtful gestures, this year we decided to let everyone on our cookie list know in advance that instead of any gifts they were planning on bringing, we would really like to help out someone in need. While I was in Ukraine in the fall, a close friend let me know that a 3 year old boy she knew was diagnosed with nephroblastoma (Wilms tumor), which is one of the most common cancers in children. Mark has had surgery to remove his affected kidney and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. This is a very curable type of cancer but Mark’s family cannot afford the treatment. While the treatment costs $6,000, which may not seem like very much to us, this is an insurmountable amount for the average family in Ukraine. We decided to ask our friends to donate to this important cause instead. We have been so touched by their generosity! I can’t thank you guys enough.
For everyone who got a plate of Christmas cookies, please check out the 2012 Christmas Cookie Guide on the cookies which have been included so you know what you’re eating. I will be posting recipes for the cookies in the future as well for those interested. For anyone who wants some cookies, we do have a few plates still available. If you would like to donate in exchange for some Christmas cookies, please let me know. For more information on Mark please visit here (unfortunately the site is all in Russian).