There’s no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by attending a Christmas trade fair and bake sale, some of which is seen across the table.
For some reason, I quickly spot tables that feature homemade baking and canned goods. Like a fly to honey, these tables are always my first stop – every time telling me to just watch and not touch and keep my money in my pocket so as not to increase my body circumference.
Because I know so many people in the community, it is imperative that I salute their talents by shelling out a few dollars for chocolate chip cookies, butter tarts with raisins (I always ask to make sure it there are raisins inside the shell), buns and bread, and always for Housemate – ginger cookies with cracked tops.
When he gets to the hob, he zooms in on lemon meringue pie and most other pie flavors. He asks my permission to please myself and how can I remind him, there in front of friends and strangers, of his dietary restrictions. So I give in, provided he uses his own money and agrees to leave me at least a slice or two.
And so we walk around the room, seeing other familiar faces, with pastries on their tables, and again give in.
For the reason that we have little willpower, we don’t visit as many bake sales as we once did in this season. I still miss the Minto Cookie Walk when patrons arrived with empty ice cream buckets to find their favorites at the dozens of packed tables. When I express my hope for a cookie walk revival, some members of the sponsorship group just raise their eyebrows and shake their heads. I guess it means “sorry, but no, make your own”.
I regret that we don’t buy much else at shows and sales. I’ve been encouraged, yes even said, to start downsizing which means I can’t give in to the craving for cute knick-knacks, knitted items, Christmas tree ornaments and wreaths. , geese made from welded pieces of equipment (bless the ingenuity though), beautiful paintings and sketches, candles, jewelry, perfumes, handbags and other fine merchandise.
At the most recent bake sale, I had the honor of helping sell baked goods for Royal Canadian Legion Branch 59 in Moose Jaw. I even made my own baking contributions, squeezed in and set up while few others were around yet. There is nothing more deflating when someone takes a package of my muffins and mumbles “they are not very pretty” and moves on to someone’s banana bread.
Stealth was used and no one was wiser about what I contributed.
One lesson I learned is that the first buyer gets their choice of what’s on sale and this particular Saturday was no exception. Customers walked through the doors and few walked past the cooktop without at least stopping to admire the display. Some brought their own bags and admitted they were baking their Christmas baking.
I had done the same thing before, selecting a variety of cookies to buy, showing my coworker what I would bring home, and putting my money in the envelope. A few minutes later, I grabbed my coworker just as she was about to remove cookies from a bag – the very bag I had put away to keep it safe.
We had a good laugh at his eagerness to resell my cookies. After that, I took them further out of sight but always kept my eye open just in case.
It was a happy time, helping others with their baking and making sure they had great products made by local housewives ready to share their talents for a worthy organization.
I’m still deciding which of the three wrappers in my stash has the best chocolate chip cookies. Such a seasonal dilemma!
Joyce Walter can be reached at [email protected]
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.