Friday, December 2, 2011

Gift Card Cookies

One of our most cherished Christmas traditions at Mimi's Kitchen is our Christmas Eve festivities. We are invited to Boy Mimi's God Parents house for an evening of feasting and fun. The evening always starts with an incredible meal, featuring Mrs. A's famous meatballs. It's a secret recipe, which even I don't have, but I do know that the meatballs are browned and then simmered in cream, making them the most delicious meatballs I have ever had. Boy Mimi loves these meatballs and has been known to consume massive quantities, so he has become the official meatball assistant. He heads over the day before the party to help Mrs A. with the meatball production. I always quiz him on what is in the recipe when he gets home, but all he ever says is, "Meat, of course!" So it still remains a secret, but even if we do discover the recipe, they will never be as good as they are at Mrs. A's on Christmas Eve. 

Besides our meal, we sing carols, play Christmas trivia games, and have a gift exchange. The evening ends with everyone heading off to church for the midnight Christmas Eve service. As our families have grown and kids have married, our group has expanded to include in-laws, boyfriends and girlfriends, and assorted relatives. We wanted everyone to be able to participate in gift giving, and since it is pretty hard to buy thoughtful gifts for people you don't know all that well, we have modified our gift exchange into a gift card exchange. What makes this a little more special than just handing out cards is the way we "wrap" our gift cards. So not only do you get a gift card, but a fun little gift as well. The packaging is a clue to the store; sometimes the clues are easy to guess, while others leave us stumped, but intrigued as to what is under the exterior.  Mrs. A's family is crafty as they come (check out her daughter's own blog in words and pictures if you want proof!)  in the past we have had all of these things under the tree: a picture frame with Prince William PhotoShopped into some vineyards, (Williams-Sonoma), a Michael Buble CD (Michael's craft store), an eye patch with a tuning fork (iTunes), a jigsaw puzzle of a barn (Barnes and Noble), and a barrel of monkeys inside a crate (Crate and Barrel).
 As soon as we walk in the door, we begin checking out the wrapped cards, trying to figure it out while we eat and sing, waiting for the exchange so we can see if we guessed the gift cards correctly. 

Since we express our creativity in the form of baking here at Mimi's Kitchen, we decided to make gift card cookie clues. We have done red glittery stars for Macy's, red and white bull's eyes for Target, Hibiscus flowers for Trader Joe's and biscotti for Starbucks. These make good hints as to what is in the package, and the recipient gets a tasty snack. We haven't decided what gift cards we will be bringing this year, but we do know that our clues will be edible!

sugar cookies

Links: Foodie Friday