Bloody Rudolph: A gratitude journal

Every year for the past several years, my family and another have come together a few days before Christmas to make and decorate cookies together.

Sometimes a lot gets accomplished. Sometimes not so much. That’s not really the point. The point is that we have created a holiday tradition of fun and fellowship, one that brings us together to laugh and play (and work; making and icing cookies is hard work!), and one that feels closer to the meaning of Christmas than a frenzy of buying and wrapping and unwrapping.

Our cookie party was last evening, and I am a happier person today as a result. Not only do I have a few more decorated cookies than I had before; I have the memory of a night of laughter and cheer with people I love. We laughed uncontrollably at times, about our lives and about the cookies we were mutilating. And we either created a mini-tradition within our tradition, or we identified a theme that binds these decorating parties together and distinguishes them from others: Carnage.

It started with Bloody Rudolph.

Bloody Rudolph once was just a reindeer (cookie) like any other. Then he lost his front legs. I don’t remember how that happened, but when it did we decided to embrace the mishap. Thus was born Bloody Rudolph, whose cookie wounds we covered in cookie (frosting) blood.

That’s him pictured up top.

That was a couple of years ago. Fast forward to last night, and midway through the evening I looked at the cookie I was almost finished decorating and realized, “I’ve accidentally created another Bloody Rudolph.” This one didn’t have any obvious wounds, but I had started with squiggles of red frosting, then added pink, and the overall effect turned out looking more like blood than anything else.

The laughter started right about then. It didn’t end anytime soon, and neither did the carnage. Later in the evening, we had a very pretty snowman cookie break in half. So I glued him together with red icing and drizzled some icing blood down his front. Voilá – Bloody Frosty.

I sense a theme that’s likely to continue.

I didn’t get a picture of Bloody Frosty, but here are some results of our efforts from year’s past — minus the carnage.

Now I’m hungry.

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