Family Adventures: Give the gift of cookies every month

What to get our grandmothers for Christmas — it’s always a struggle.

Both Sweet Husband’s grandma and mine have downsized to small apartments in recent years. After being involved in helping them both move, getting them even more “stuff” makes me feel like we’re burdening them. A few years ago, though, I hit on a good solution.

What I really wanted was a gift that would keep giving. Something that would let them know we were thinking of them from time to time throughout the year. One year we went in with Sweet Husband’s cousins and did a flower-of-the-month club for his grandmother. The idea was perfect — and as a group gift it was great — but a bit expensive to strike out on our own.

Then I got to thinking: they both live within a day of us by mail, so why couldn’t I start my own “of-the-month” club? Flowers would be too perishable, of course, but people send cookies by mail all the time, right? And I could add notes and pictures of the Kid from time to time, because all grandmas like those, yes?

Thus, “The Kid’s Cookie of the Month Club” was formed.

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Struggling to come up with gift ideas for grandparents? Try starting a Cookie of the Month Club.

For Christmas that year, we sent each grandma a note telling her what to expect — a half-dozen or so cookies once a month for the entire year. Then, we got started baking. For January, we began simply with a jar full of classic chocolate chip cookies. February was a stack of store-bought dark, double-chocolate beauties from the Merc’s bakery. June was a box of classic thumbprint cookies made with fresh strawberry jam, and so on and so forth.

I’ll confess, we didn’t get cookies in the mail every single month that year, but we hit about nine out of 12. Further, every batch went out with a letter or a piece of art work from the Kid, and we’d usually get a phone call when the cookies arrived safely.

The cookies were much more than just cookies — they were a reminder to stay in touch.

If you’d like to start a cookie club of your own for someone special, here are a few tips to get you started.

• Make a Pinterest board or a recipe box of cookies you’d like to try making, with an eye toward treats that will work in different seasons. For example, chocolate cookies don’t ship well in July, and apple cider cookies are perfect in September. It’s fun to use the club as an excuse to try new recipes.

• Think about how often you can reasonably make and ship cookies before you start. The year I did this, the Kid was only a year old, so once a month was a little ambitious. Feel free to set your own interval, and then put a reminder on your calendar at that interval to make sure those cookies get sent off.

• Don’t be afraid to take advantage of store-bought cookies, too. With all of our awesome local bakeries, why wouldn’t you?

• Have fun with the packaging. The year we did this I was constantly stealing, er, um, collecting pretty take-out containers. I also recycled and decorated quite a few glass jars. Wrapped carefully to avoid breakage, they make a sturdy means of making sure your cookies arrive in one piece.

• Include a note, letter or picture with each cookie shipment. While everyone loves a good cookie, I think our recipients enjoyed our additional bits and bobs even more.

Good luck with your cookie club!

— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at mybitofearth.net.

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