Holiday Traditions- Say Thanks To Your Neighbors

Neighbors. How do you feel about yours? I live in a community where the houses are so close to each other, we can hear each other’s conversations when our windows aren’t shut.

I see many of my neighbors all the time. We go to the same schools, we often pull out of our garages on the same schedule, we drive by each other on our narrow beach city streets multiple times a day. But there are also some neighbors I don’t see often.  They may work long hours, have no kids, or frequently go out of town.

Our neighborhoods contribute more to the quality of our lives than we realize. The people who pass us with smiles while walking their dogs. The neighbors who notice we left our windows open during a rainstorm while we are out of town. The ones who keep an eye on our streets to ensure they are safe.

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source: coldwellbanker.com

Each year around the holidays, it’s nice to take time to show kindness to our neighbors.

About 7 years ago, my friend Joni and I started baking cookies during the holidays and having our kids pass them out to our neighbors.

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Over the years, our cookie baking group has grown. Now, it is a “can’t miss” event we all look forward to.

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During the first weekend of December, we get together Saturday morning around 9am to start baking.

Each cookie day baker has their designated cookie to be in charge of and bring ingredients for. While we make their recipe, they are the “leader” until their cookies are finished.  Then we move on to make the next cookie.

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We make about 120 of each type!

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Our kids get involved by making their own set of cookies for their consumption (we don’t trust their hands for neighbors’ cookies!).

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Well, a few of the teenage girls we trust, but that’s it. We take our cookies very seriously.

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It’s a great day for the kids run in and out of the house and play together, and for the women to gather and catch up.

And the aroma of fresh baked cookies throughout the house, all day long? You can imagine it, right? It’s wonderful.

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We get a chance to be goofy and laugh.

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Our kids get to see and share in an activity with the purpose of giving. Great memories are created.

As I wrote about in my How To Raise a Good Decision Maker post, I didn’t have a great childhood. We barely even celebrated Christmas and there were certainly no “holiday traditions” in my house. Not having a close family growing up makes it even more important for me to ensure my kids have these special moments.

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Back to the cookies. There is some imbibing too. We have a few pear martinis while we bake!

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We finish packaging the cookies just before dinner. Then the husbands join in for a family pot luck meal. It’s a great way to get us all in the holiday spirit.

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The next morning, the kids get together and we walk in a big group as they take turns going door to door, handing out cookies to our neighbors. It’s wonderful to see the face expressions of our neighbors as the kids hand them their plates.

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We hand out about 60 cookie plates. Isn’t this a great tradition?

This year we are making 1) lemon bars 2) spritz 3) cranberry oatmeal 4) peppermint brownies 5) shortbread 6) peanut butter blossoms 7) chocolate chip. I will post the recipes after our baking day!

Imagine if we all made a point to give a kind gesture to our neighbors. As my son once said on a picture he drew in 3rd grade, “The world would be a better place if everyone was a good neighbor.”

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Would you consider doing something like this? I would love to hear from you if you do! I’d love to hear from you anyway, lol.

Cheers to the last month of the year, everyone. Let’s make it special!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.