There is but one family tradition that I have never forsaken, not in college when I lacked a proper kitchen or in the years that I worked 16 hour days. That tradition is cookies.
And not that you should go read a highbrow conversation about the most portable, least-messy dessert invented by humankind, but Sara Dickerman, Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz had one over at Slate last week that is notable for its ability to make you hungry even immediately after eating and the consensus to which they came: ginormous cookies, like ginormous cars, are out. And then they talk about delicious sweet cookie goodness.
The great thing about cookies — as Dickerman points out — is that they are a personal gift that even a recession (or student poverty) can't keep you from giving. Dickerman and Greenspan both talk, too, about one of my favorite aspects of baking: the Zen-like focus that baking from scratch can require. It's a physical and mental task to make good cookies (if you don't have a stand-mixer), as you add the ingredients in the right order, fold the dough, tray the cookies and wait for them to be baked as you put more dough on a tray to wait its turn. It's comforting in its guided, precise creationism.
Anyway, all of this is to say: leave your favorite Christmas cookie in the comments. If you looking for recipes, two of mine favorites are here, but several Christmases ago a woman in my yoga class made me chocolate ginger cookies and never "remembered" to give me the recipe — so if you have that one, leave that, too!
The State Of The Cookie [Slate]
Related: Almond Christmas Tree and Nutmeg Cookies [Internet Food Association]