Make this Christmas less materialistic

One heaping cup of sugar. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Whoops … maybe more like a full teaspoon. First egg, second egg. Everything goes into the bowl and with a few stirs the mixture is ready. 

After everything is prepared for the oven, I look around my grandma’s kitchen and there is flour everywhere. On the counter. On the oven. On my pants. Everywhere.

But I am not alone in my baking adventure. My grandmother sits at her kitchen table with sugar cookie dough rolled out on a the table. Her cookie cutters sit piled on top of each other and her rolling pin lays off to the side, waiting for its opportunity to perform. She has flour smeared on her face and her clothes look as if she was in a baking war, but she has a smile on her face. 

For me, the time spent baking with my grandmother signifies that the holiday season has arrived. My grandmother and I have scheduled a baking day every year for the past five years and they are some of my favorite days to remember. I get to spend one-on-one time with her. We share stories. We compare recipes. We decide what recipes we will make next year, what was our favorite and what should never be made again.

This time spent with my grandmother is more than just baking, I feel that it embodies the holiday spirit. In our culture, when we want to give a gift to someone, we go to the store and buy something. When we struggle to find a gift we eventually give up and get the staples: a tie, some chocolate, a gift card or something that will eventually be forgotten.

I feel that my grandmother gives me a gift that no money can buy: time with her. The time in her kitchen is worth more than a store-bought gift because memories are eternal. I will always remember the time when I spilled flour all over her kitchen and shortly after she did the same thing. I will always remember the times I would walk into her house to see her baking and within five minutes I was elbow-deep in flour assisting her.

This holiday season and throughout the year, I encourage you to think outside of just buying a gift for someone. Instead “buy” them a memory. Take them out to lunch instead. Go ice skating. Make a fort out of pillows and drink hot chocolate. Do something other than just buy a gift because, if we’re all honest, eventually the gift that we received will end up lost, broken or sold at a garage sale. 

Holidays are a time for spending with your family and friends. This holiday season instead of buying gifts for my family I intend to make memories. I want my family and friends to think back on the moments we spent together and smile. I want those memories to stay with my family and friends longer than anything store-bought every will.

Beep. Beep. Beep. The cookies are done. I place them on a cooling rack. I go to my grandmother’s cupboard and grab a plate and two mugs. I fill the mugs with water and place two tea bags in them and then microwave them. I bring the plate of cookies and the tea to my grandmother’s kitchen table. I will always remember the beep of the oven, a sip of tea and a bite of cookie with my grandmother.