A Night of Christmas Cookies
By Jane Kashlak
Cape May, NJ - The evening starts slowly enough. A few parents and kids. Some early attempts at decorating little baskets, meant to hold a handful of cookies.
Then the doors open wide and a groundswell of kids and parents flood the Cape May Elementary School gymnasium. Suddenly, hundreds of people big and small are milling around, making and eating cookies.
Santa's helpers in the kitchen are baking up tray after tray of cookies while a line up of Santa's' elves manning sewing machines begin stitching made to order elf like caps.
Artistic Santa's helpers show little hands how to cut cookies from cookie dough. Many kids have never done it before. One homemade cookie dough Christmas tree crumbles under the weight of too many M&M ornaments. Start over.
After an hour, a long table is covered not only with fresh baked cookies but also with cookies from kitchens around the area. This is, after all, the Center for Community Arts' Great Cookie Exchange, the only time all year when the price of admission is measured in cookies.
Volunteers from all parts of the community step in and fill Santa's elves shoes, whether they're guarding the cookie table...
Or wielding a hot glue gun to decorate cookie baskets...
Or providing the back up chorus for Santa's big entrance..
Or serving as The Cookie Exchange Commander in Chief...
On this Monday night in December, in the Cape May Elementary School gymnasium, there are cookies, and Secret Santa's, all around.