I grew up with St Nicholas. What we got was not exactly anything anyone in this day and age would recognize as a treat. An orange, peanuts in the shell, those candies that have little green and red flowers in the center and candy canes, all in a sock on the end of my bed. I love it that my mother did this for us and I don’t like to give up that tradition. When my nieces and nephews (8 of them) were kids, and in fact until they all reached the age of 21, I used to give them Christmas tree ornaments, usually one I made myself. Not only did I make them, I packaged them up and sent them so they’d arrive by November 5th—St Nicholas’ Eve—and get put in their stockings for the next morning. A whole of a lot more work than an orange and some goddam peanuts in a sock.
This year I made cookies for my office. The thing I hate about cookies is cutting them out. So I got my mother to come over and do that part of the job. I made oatmeal cookies (no cutting required—recipe here) and she cut out the sugar cookies. Also harder than sticking oranges and peanuts in a sock, I guess. At least I didn’t have to do it.
The recipe isn’t really my grandmother’s. She was a terrible cook. Still, it’s a recipe I’ve been using for 40 years…theoretically long enough for me to have become a grandparent myself.