This year, Betty Crocker is helping me bring back a tradition from my childhood, with a new twist!
When I was a kid, we had a neighborhood cookie swap every year around the holidays. My mother inadvertently started it years before I was born; my parents were new to the neighborhood, and my mom thought that going around to deliver plates of cookies would be a good way to introduce herself.
When I say neighbors, you should understand that I grew up in a fairly rural area, so a neighbor was anyone who lived within a mile or so. It’s amazing to me that I have never known a more tight-knit community where everyone knew their neighbors than I did when living out in the country. It seems contrary to what you would expect, but if you’ve ever lived in the middle of nowhere you probably know what I mean!
It didn’t take long before the neighbors started returning the favor, bringing my parents cookies in return and also distributing them through the neighborhood. By the time I came around, it was a firmly-ingrained tradition that every year around the holidays, my mom would make a dozen or so big plates of Christmas cookies and wrap them up for delivery, and we would go as a family to take them to everyone.
Sadly, most of those original neighbors are no longer around. Some have moved away, and some who were already elderly in my childhood have long since passed on. And the tradition, it would seem, is slowly fading away along with the neighbors of days gone by.
Baking cookies for the whole neighborhood is a daunting task, so how do you make cookies for some of your neighbors without making the rest feel left out? Start a pay-it-forward style cookie exchange with the Betty Crocker #SpreadCheer campaign! The basic idea is that you leave cookies on the doorsteps of several neighbors with a note inside explaining that they are a gift from a neighbor, and encourage them to do the same to several other random neighbors so that the cookie-giving spreads throughout the area.
You don’t even need a lot of time to spread cheer to your neighbors – Betty Crocker makes it easy. They have some fun printables available to make it easy to explain the concept, along with coordinating gift tags. And if you don’t have time to make cookies from scratch, grab some Betty Crocker cookie mixes!
I grabbed some classic sugar cookie mix and a bag of chocolate chip cookie mix. My local grocery store had the bonus size of the chocolate chip, which is good because they are my husband’s favorite. He was able to munch a few and we still had plenty left over for the neighbors! They make cookie mixes in lots of different varieties so you have quite a few options for putting together your cookie selections. And don’t forget your coupon!
Once you’ve made your cookies, package them up. I used some plain brown cookie boxes, but there are lots of options! You can put them in a pretty tin, stack them in a large mason jar, pile them on a plate and wrap it up or slide it into a zipper bag… Be as utilitarian or as creative as you like!
I tucked a printout explaining the Spread Cheer campaign into each box, tied them up with some grosgrain ribbon, and added the cute printable tags.
All wrapped up and ready for delivery! (It’s totally legit to refer to yourself as the Cookie Fairy for the remainder of this mission. Right?)
I took a little walk around a couple of blocks…
…and sneakily left my boxes of cookies behind on several porches!
This was a super fun way to breathe new life into one of my favorite old traditions. I hope it catches on and more neighbors fire up their ovens to make yummies for others!
A while after my deliveries, I got a text message from one of the recipients with this photo attached:
I think it’s safe to say that someone really enjoyed those cookies!
About the Spread Cheer Campaign:
Make the world a better place this Christmas when you spread cheer with the gift of cookies! When you surprise your favorite people with fresh-baked goodness made straight from the heart, you’re letting them know that their good deeds don’t go unnoticed. Celebrate the season by spreading cheer with cookies, and help get the word out to inspire others to keep the celebration going. This Christmas, giving back is easier than ever with simple cookie recipes from Betty Crocker.
About Betty Crocker Cookies:
From simple sugar cookies to a gingerbread masterpiece, Betty Crocker makes it easy to celebrate your favorite people. Give back to those that mean the world to you this holiday season by surprising them with fresh-baked goodness made straight from the heart.