From left, Margaret Rodgers, Shaun Fulco and Michelle Hardin look serious as they load up their tins with cookies.
COVID was the Grinch who stole Christmas last year — at least it put the kibosh on our annual cookie exchange. So, last December — after 17 straight years — no cookies!
But the cookie exchange was back in full force this past weekend, and the noise level in our Gay Street condo indicated that folks were more than ready for it.
We had chocolate cookies and several kinds of shortbread. Cookies in the shape of wreaths and “thumbprints.” Amaretto cookies and “snowballs” and oatmeal cookies. We even had “monster” cookies – so named because they are huge and have so many different things in them.
Well, you get the idea.
Lunch was four salads, wine, beer, mimosas and Bloody Marys. In other words, Christmas is launched! As always, I encourage everyone to pull together a group of friends and have a cookie exchange. To assist in your planning, I have attached a copy of our invitation to the bottom of this post. It has all the “rules” of our exchange. But, of course, you also can make up your own rules! Happy holidays!
Helpful hint #1: Do not try to host a cookie exchange alone. I had help from three friends. Here’s Madge Cleveland manning the Bloody Mary and mimosa station!
Katie Kline helped Madge out. Here she is demonstrating how to mix a mimosa in your mouth! Just pour in the orange juice and champagne!
Susan Brown, left, staffed the wine and beer station. Beside her are two satisfied “customers:” Kristin Grove and Judith Foltz, right.
Monique Anderson drove in from her cabin on Norris Lake. She had forgotten to take her Christmas cookie cutters to the cabin, so she used what she had available — cookie cutters shaped like fish!
A table of cookies!
Janet Testerman brought these beautiful wreath cookies.
Julia Bentley, left, and Janet Testerman.
Jacque Hawks brought pecan shortbread.
Gay Lyons, left, and Jacque Hawks.
Gay brought some savory cookies: blue cheese, cranberry rosemary cookies!
I loved Sheena McCall’s designer shirt featuring the Eiffel Tower. It was by Karl Lagerfeld.
Thumbprints from Margaret Rodgers.
Margaret, left, and Sheena.
Chocolate chip snowballs by Julia Bentley.
A toast before lunch!
From left, Tasha Blakney, Katie Kline, Tasha’s mother, Kay Blakney, Madge Cleveland.
These were one of the appetizers — baked olive cheddar balls. An old-fashioned recipe.
Maria McHale at the salad buffet.
Clockwise from top left: blue cheese, pear and pecan salad; light Mediterranean orzo salad; berries that might have had a little Amaretto stirred in; and marinated lentil salad.
Dawn Ford was sick and unable to attend. But she sent her delicious “Everything” sugar cookies.
These ladies called themselved the “hot flash girls” because they chose to sit on the sill of the opened windows and enjoy the cool air! From left, Jacque Hawks, Judith Foltz, Gay Lyons, Pam Rhoades and Maria McHale.
These were some of my favorites: salty chocolate cookies.
Phyllis Nichols found the Prosecco!
Amaretto cookies with almonds were made by Maria McHale.
Shaun Fulco and Maria McHale. Both work at Moxley Carmichael.
Shaun made oatmeal raisin cookies.
Sheena, left, with Tasha Blakney.
The “monster” cookies! Pam Rhoades brought them. But husband Brian made them!
More serious attention to the task at hand! From left, Michelle, Monique and Phyllis.
These cookies have “Christmas” written all over them! They are Kristin’s “festive Snickerdoodles!
Lauren Miller of Moxley Carmichael and Pam Rhoades.
Mintha Roach, center, with Monique and Phyllis.
Jennifer Holder, left, with Michelle.
Ha! Found these at Bob’s Liquor & Wine.
Here’s our invitation with all our “rules.”
This was my 15th year attending this wonderful gathering. Always great cookies, and even better company. Thanks for including me!
Love those napkins!
Shaun: Wow, that makes you one of the longest-running attendees! Thanks for coming!
Melinda: Me, too! Haha!
This looks like such fun and the cookies look amazing!
What fun to be back together celebrating. It just wasn’t Christmas last year without Cynthia’s Cookie Exchange!!
I remember going to at least a couple when you lived on Cherokee Boulevard, Cynthia
YUMMM!! I wish I could have been there!! Everyone looks so beautiful and festive!
I’m not sure how many I’ve attended, but I recall attending on Cherokee Blvd. It just isn’t Christmas without the cookie exchange. I missed it–and all our wonderful friends–last year. Those salads were delicious!
I’m so glad we could get together this year! Everything was delicious. Thanks to Cynthia as host and her many helpers!
Love this idea – very cool!
So sorry I was unable to attend this year! It is always such a fun event to kick off the season!
My mom made this wreath cookies Janet brought every year when I was s kid. Love them! Looks like another great year!
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Were any unmentionables found this year?
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