In one way only, it’s like a box store at my house: the day after Thanksgiving, we’re prepping for Christmas. If Thanksgiving was my grandmother’s holiday, Christmas was Mom’s. As it approached, we dragged box after box of decorations from under the stairs and distributed their contents around the house. Every room was adorned, and multiple trees, including one that brushed the ceiling, sagged under handmade, generations old, and otherwise treasured ornaments. Then the baking began.
When laying out cookies for their chief eater (Dad, aka Santa), my sister and I struggled to limit ourselves to a small plate. Choices included painted cutouts, thumbprints, Berliner kranzer, butter spritz, and gingerbread biscotti. Two that I never fully appreciated until I was older—Vanilla Bean Cookies and Chocolate Rum Balls—are now my annual contribution to the array. I make them after Thanksgiving so that they fully develop their flavors by the big day. Learn to make Vanilla Bean Cookies and Chocolate Rum Balls