About the bakeoff...

Oh yes, the Great Christmas Bakeoff 2008. You can pause for a moment if you want to keep looking at the goodies. Go ahead. Bask. I'll wait. I'm looking at them from afar myself as they are a distant memory already.

Beauties, aren't they?

If you hadn't read about it, my family decided to forego presents this year (except for the kids) and bake for each other instead. My sister and her husband and their new baby were in town and we really just wanted to relish in having all of our family together. Plus, with everyone keeping a real close watch on their funds for this season, we all agreed this was a fabulous idea. And look how it turned out! Everyone was so creative!! That button box up there? That was my mom's. It was made out of gingerbread and she fastened a little candy up on the lid for a handle and when you opened up the box there were little button cookies inside. And the gingerbread was to die for!

My sister's husband got involved for their bake-off goodies. He sifted through a million recipes and came up with these little crescent cookies up in the top right, and I wish I had been there to see a giant Marine standing over these little pieces of dough, folding them up with his giant Marine hands so delicately. The image is just too funny for words. My mother-in-law's creations are in the middle right and the bottom, that little reindeer was the cutest! And the top left: that, my friends, is my aunt's famous Christmas bread. It's sweet and when you toast it with butter and have it in the morning with coffee, kumbaya!

Mine went like this:
I made shortbread cookies and drizzled them with chocolate, and baked gingerbread along with little chocolate snowman cupcakes.

We all decided that we LOVED the bakeoff. It was so much fun gathering around the table and exchanging our little creations, ooh-ing and aaahhh-ing over each other's creativity. Although, we also decided that it may have been a little more time consuming than buying presents, and may have even been about the same in cost (ingredients, packaging, time spent, etc..)

But the only real problem with the Christmas Bakeoff 2008 is, I come from a family of givers. I had long suspected this and had even hinted about it in my last post. What the foreseeable problem about only exchanging baked goods was the potential for a very giving family member to feel compelled to want to give more and deviate from said baked-goods-only plan. Which would mean that one would deviate and if one didn't then the giving and receiving could/would be a little lopsided. Which would be fine if we were a family of receivers. But we're not. Every person in my family would spend their last dime on each other rather than themselves. Which is all grand and kind and nice, except for the fact that it doesn't make for a successful Great Christmas Bakeoff as a present replacement. Because, oh yes, there was deviation. I thought it might happen, but I was hoping everyone would stick to plan. But it was inevitable. I won't name names (to protect the innocent deviators) but I will say that the Great Christmas Bakeoff 2008 was not successful in a gift-giving sort of way, but was very successful in a creative, almost competitive, superfun sort of way. Oh my family. How I love them and how I love that my family is of the kind with giant hearts. It brings tears to my eyes.

We're not sure how to fit the Great Christmas Bakeoff into the cards of next Christmas, but I think it's here to stay in some form. We're thinking maybe a theme, or drawing a baked good from a hat or something like that.

But overall, I think we all agreed that it was just too hard not to give this year. Everywhere we looked, we saw something we knew the other would just love. And when it came down to it, Christmas eve, I think it crossed all our minds at least once, are we sure we're not getting anything for each other??

I think we all missed that feeling. That feeling where you're anxiously awaiting the look on their face after you give them a present because you have, indeed, found the perfect present, and you're waiting for that excited response, (oh the anticipation!) as they unwrap your perfect gift. And they light up and say, "How on earth did you find this!!" And you're so happy and so satisfied that you made them so happy but most of all, you know that they know that you know them, inside and out, enough to find the perfect gift to solicit that wonderful reaction. And it may not cost a million dollars, but it sure is worth that.

So, in sum, after the great Christmas Bakeoff experiment of 2008, we, as unofficial scientists, have indeed confirmed that is absolutely impossible, by a margin of +/- 2, for my family to not give presents at Christmas. This world just does not exist for us. It is a mathematical certainty.

After all, Christmas is the season of giving. What other time of year would a family of givers have the opportunity to do what they do best?
Bookmark and Share


  1. I still think it was a wonderful idea. One I might try to bring up for next year for our family. It looks delicious and sounds really fun!

  2. I love that button box! So cute.I can smell the gingerbread, mmmm!

  3. The cookies look delicious!!! And I too understand the "we're not exchanging gifts this year" deviation. My family seems to do that every year!!! And like you said we just love seeing each others expression when they open the perfect gift that orginally they were never supposed to get!!! Anyway, great stuff! It sounds and looks like you guys cherish your time together!!!!

  4. Looks so very delicious, though! I can see what you mean about not being able to do just that, but if you did the baking thing (which is such an awesome idea!) plus some smaller things, maybe that would work. If not, just everyone send the sweets to me. :)

  5. Those cookies look yummy!

    We now exchange names in our family of adults. Around Thanksgiving. We write down things we like and put our papers in a hat and then everyone picks a name. We then only buy for that one person and you can only spend $25. It's kind of fun to see who got your name and it nice to have the extra cash in your pocket. The kids get something from everyone. Since it is so special for them.


Talk to me, Goose!

I love comments. Who doesn't love a good comment?