the great cookie exchange rebellion

I have been baking cookies since I was nine years old.

A Cookie Exchange Party for Christmas seems like a natural forum for my baking habit. Each person brings 6-8 dozen cookies, wraps them by the dozen and exchanges them.

When someone tells me to do something rather than it being my idea (even baking cookies), I rebel like a pubescent 13 year-old girl.

One year, I turned into such A Rebel — Without A Cookie.

The coordinator of the exchange gave me too many rules.

1. No store bought cookies.

2. No Chocolate Chip cookies. (Unfortunately, that’s my speciality. I have perfected a recipe since I was the above mentioned 9 year-old. These are the cookies that I send to my son who’s now in college.)

3. No Slice and Bake cookies.

4. Someone has to be the Buckeye Lady every year. (These are chocolate covered peanut butter balls. Little bits of heaven, really.)

However, these were tough times for this baker. My kids were 11, 9, 5 and 1 1/2. I barely got showers, people fed and my house cleaned. This was also the year I was assigned to be “The Buckeye Lady” by a well-meaning, control-driven, one-person cookie committee. This wouldn’t be a big deal, though. Peanut Butter. Chocolate. Easy.

I can bake. I may not be able to keep a house spit-spot clean, but I can bake like no tomorrow.

Then math happened. Math has always betrayed me. This time it threatened the core of my baking identity.

8 dozen cookies = 96 individually rolled, dipped, drops of dough + 4 children under the age of 12 = (feels like) 800 dozen Buckeyes.

I just couldn’t do it.

As the cookie exchange grew nearer, I decided I would just fake illness and hang my head in shame. Then, a miracle occurred a few days before the party. When I was exhausted and could not think about preparing dinner for my family of six, I pulled the biggest Mommy copout in my frazzled mind: I took everyone to Cracker Barrel for dinner. In the check out line, my soul was saved. Not by Jesus. That was much earlier in life. My cookie soul. My rebellious, cookie baker soul.

I saw a glass domed cake dish with delicately stacked—–Buckeyes. All dipped. All pretty. All done.

“May I please have 8 dozen Buckeyes?” I quietly asked the cashier.

“I don’t know if we have that many. Let me check,” she offered.

Heaven’s angels sang and its martyrs wept as she declared… “Why, yes we do. How would you like them wrapped?”

“I’ll just take them. I’ll take them all,” I said, realizing I was free.


  1. Yes, they were store bought.
  2. No, they weren’t my incredible melt-in-your-mouth-amazing-chocolate chip cookies.
  3. No, they were not sliced. Or baked for that matter.
  4. And yes, I was indeed the Buckeye Lady.

I wrapped them in red toile tissue paper and placed them in fancy white bakery boxes. I even adorned them with gold monogram stickers. I was ready for the Cookie Exchange. Did I feel guilty? A little. Not as much as I thought though, honestly.

That’s what you get when you tell a baker what to bake: no love in the cookies. Just a sinful, rebel mother protecting her sanity and maintaining her own righteousness in the name of a Christmas Cookie Exchange.


Facebook Comments:


  1. says

    “When someone tells me to do something rather than it being my idea (even baking cookies), I rebel like a pubescent 13 year-old girl.” – oh, my gosh! This is SO me! And my daughter has followed in my footsteps. She was coming downstairs from her room one day and I said: “I need you to clean your room.” She was SO mad! She was coming down to get cleaning stuff because she had already decided to clean her room. But once I told her to, she had no more interest in doing it. recently posted..November Tips, Tricks & TechniquesMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Anger in a teenager can be so counterproductive. When they learn to get it under control, they are so much happier–and we are too! God forbid they actually do what they are told when they are told to do it. That means they are “giving in” to our “control” or something. It’s so tough trying to not be a controlled teenager.

  2. says

    Such a great story!! I can’t even believe you were doing ANYTHING in that season of motherhood!!! Good grief woman!! You continue to amaze me… I think I would be in a corner rocking and singing to myself with that many kids at those ages. And possibly eating 8 dozen buckeyes. (Which of course are my favorite- seeing I live in the “Buckeye State” and my hubby is a Buckeye. But really, who am I kidding putting it all on our state! Peanut butter and Chocolate trump all sweets. Period.
    Chris Carter recently posted..The Delicate and Deliberate Deception Lives On…Elf on the Shelf Part 2.My Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Chris, you must be a Nutella fan….even though it’s technically hazelnut and chocolate. I find it to act like a Reese’s Cup in a jar.

  3. says

    I wish you could see me now because I am giving you a big standing ovation!!! WELL DONE!!! Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do! I don’t cook or bake at all so a cookie exchange, especially one with so many rules, would break me. (unless I found the perfect thing at the check out line at the grocery!) –Lisa
    The Dose of Reality recently posted..Two Out of Three Ain’t BadMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Thank you. Thank you very much. I would like to thank Cracker Barrel, the peanut farmers of America and all cocoa growers of the world. No really, I have grown up so much since then. If someone asked me to participate in something this ludicrous again, I would politely tell them, “No thank you. Enjoy your own torture.” Oh gosh, that was sassy. Sassy does come with age, though.

  4. says

    Hahaha!! I love it! I think I would have rebelled from the controlling lady too! I can seriously feel your pain. My kids go to a Christian school and we do a “cookie walk” fundraiser every Christmas. Each family is asked to bake 300 bite sized “pretty” Christmas cookies… no chocolate chip and no store bought. Well, every year I spend a week {maybe two} rolling, baking and decorating beautiful small lintzer cookies… you know those almond/sugar sandwich cookies with a raspberry jam middle and tiny window cutouts all nicely sprinkled with powdered sugar. Well, if I were smart I would realize that 300 cookies actually equal 600 sandwich cookies. {{oye!}}… this year I am cheating. I am making caramels. And I refuse to feel guilty for it being candy instead of cookies! This post was good for my spirit today! Hahaha! Thank you!
    Kari recently posted..Actions Speak Louder than WordsMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Just say no to the Lintzer cookies Kari! Cheat away. No one will send you to the principal’s office. Those are crazy cookies. Cookies that are YUMMY should reign, not PRETTY! Everyone will love your caramels. I promise.
      Thanks for visiting!

  5. says

    Technically, they weren’t store bought because the Cracker Barrel isn’t a store, it’s a restaurant. So you simply had the cookies catered, which was no against the rules. And I would have given her a piece of my mind!
    Blond Duck recently posted..Nuts about ChristmasMy Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Technically, you are right. Cracker Barrel isn’t a store. The next time I decide to bring something that was not made in my own kitchen (but someone else’s) I am using the “catering” line. It sounds positively fancy instead of guilty. By the way, I was not invited to the following year’s exchange. I was relieved.

  6. says

    Phew! Saved by Cracker Barrel! Hahaha… your post really make my day. Love it!!
    We don’t do Cookies Exchange Parties here in Malaysia but we often do Pot Luck Parties. No rules but naturally everyone at the party compares who’s dish are the most appetizing (in their mind) and who’s dish are the most yummylicious (which is cost-related). But I don’t care. Is the togetherness which I valued most.
    Beady J recently posted..Let us try!My Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} Yes! Don’t we often hear at potlucks, “Who brought the great __________? Can we get the recipe? It’s just fabulous!” All the while, the gal who brought the bread and butter gets no recognition. Competition in the food arena has grown since the popularity of cooking shows on TV. Now it seems we should all be expected to whip up a culinary masterpiece at every get together. I’m just glad when someone else makes the salad—I hate making them. I am also thrilled not to be cooking for one night.

  7. says

    LOL I nearly cried laughing! I hate being given rules like that. We’re so much alike! Not sure I would’ve bought the buckeyes, though. I might have gone with the illness or…worse yet…brought jars of peanut butter and handed out chocolate bars. LOL :) Yes, I would be tempted to do that, but I have a feeling my guilt would be too much and I’d just find a way to not be there…Or made another cookie (i.e. chocolate chip just to be spiteful) and fained surprise when they “reminded me” that I was the buckeye lady. “Oh! I totally forgot!” 😀 Shame the things we are tempted to do or actually do when backed into a corner, hmm?
    Julie Moore recently posted..{Guest Recipe} Coconut and Pineapple Smoothie (Soy, Fish, Wheat, Nut, Egg and Milk-Free)My Profile

    • Mothering From Scratch says

      {Kathy} I agree! When someone backs us into a corner, it’s not motivating, it’s just not nice. Moms tend to do this to each other sometimes. I don’t know why. It seems as if watching someone else sweat, or watching someone else fail is entertaining or beneficial. We should be supporting each other and building one another up instead. If I gave a cookie exchange today with a bunch of busy moms the “rules” would probably go like this:
      1. Let’s all meet at a bakery and share some cookies together, with coffee, tea or icy cold milk.
      We tend to do plenty for our families. Ministering to one another gets gypped too many times.

      • says

        Agreed! Cookie exchanges tend to get into a contest of who is the better baker, not to be a blessing to each other. Same with gift exchanges – people tend to get upset that they didn’t get as good a gift as they gave. To me? Keep the competition out of it! If you have a gift exchange, make it White Elephant. If you have a prize for a game, make it silly or light and fun so it’s not the focus of the whole ordeal. Don’t have a cookie exchange; make cookies for college boxes or families around town. If you want to get together, just do it – no strings attached! *end rant* :)
        Julie Moore recently posted..Busy, Busy, Busy!My Profile

        • Mothering From Scratch says

          {Kathy} You are my kind of girl, Julie. The intention of the action is much more important sometimes than the action itself. The college boxes of cookies sound like a great idea. My first son is a freshman this year so it was the first time I got to do that for him. But what about all the other kids on his dorm floor who don’t ever get care packages? Maybe for Finals week a few of us “college kid” moms could get together and bake for not only our kids, but others as well.
          Getting together “with no strings attached” is so rare with moms. It usually is some sort of meeting for school or church. Maybe just a time, date and location for anyone who just wants to get together with no agenda?

          • says

            It’s hard to do but not impossible – the getting together with no agenda thing. One of these days. :)

            As to the cookies for the whole floor…I know that the college boxes I got with goodies DEFINITELY fit that. It was so cool to have goodies to share. You know what the most popular box was, though? Apples with caramel dip! Seriously! We got an entire box full of apples with a bowl of caramel dip. It was the coolest thing. Of course, Michigan apples are the best so…It didn’t surprise me too much that I only got 1 apple out of the bunch! LOL :)
            Julie Moore recently posted..Busy, Busy, Busy!My Profile

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