It was Christmas Eve. And the trap was set.

Other kids told me. But I didn’t believe them. So I decided to set a trap. A trap that would tell me beyond a shadow of a doubt … if Santa was real.

My plan was diabolically simple. I arranged the cookies, nicely on the tray. I painstaking wrote a note, letting Santa know that that all the cookies were his.

In my head, I figured that as long as Santa somehow touched that tray, I’d have his finger prints. Of course I didn’t work out the details of how to lift his finger prints … but I would figure something out.

I knew Santa couldn’t resist mom’s cookies. Everyone loved them.

The next morning, all was revealed. On the “Thank You for the cookies, they were delicious.” My mom’s distinctive hand-writing gave away Santa’s true identity.

I think about that when I hold up one of mom’s Christmas cookies.

But not this year.

This year, no visions of cookies dance in my head. For the first time I can remember, Christmas is cookie-less.

For some reason, my mom’s cookies make Christmas Christmas. The slight honey twang of the Christmas cookies always earns her compliments from anyone who eats them.

In California, each December, a package arrives at my door. A ziplock bag filled with cookies. Cookies I’d have to tuck away into a cabinet. Because if I had one, my willpower evaporates and the bag disappears in two days.

A number of years ago, mom bequeathed her Christmas cookie recipe to me. From the old Betty Crocker cookbook circa 1950. I immediately scanned it into my computer.

If I couldn’t be in Michigan for the holidays, I’d always try my hand at making those cookies. But they weren’t quite the same.

But I still ate them. Because Christmas isn’t Christmas without mom’s cookies.

On Christmas morning, I asked why there were none.

“Well, it’s hard for me to see.” Mom said. “I don’t know where I’m putting the cookie sheets.”

I hear the regret in her voice. Something she always loved to do. Making something people always loved to eat. While I may not understand why, I do understand drama. My mom fell victim to that this year. Thus no cookies.

I pull the recipe card up on my Mac. “I’ll make the cookies.”

“We’ll need honey.” She says. “I think the grocery store might be open.”

Now Christmas can be Christmas.