Christmas in Los Angeles is a strange thing for an East Coast girl like me. As religious holidays go, Christmas in LA has been, more or less, a disjointed and soulless affair.
Christmas in my hometown was a quiet, snowy thing. Far from the reaches of a noisy city, our snow-draped village was so quiet you could hear the poetic sound of snow falling outside the window. The days leading up to Christmas meant we spent a lot of time thinking about putting on multiple layers of clothing, sturdy hats, thick gloves, weather-proof boots, and using ice scrapers and collapsible shovels in the trunk of our car so that we could venture out into the world an find presents for our loved ones.
Out here in Los Angeles, it’s hard to connect to winter celebrations when flowers continue to bloom and lush palm trees go on swaying in sunny Southern California. LA’s climate makes eggnog too rich and hot apple cider seem frivolous.Without the snow and the chill in the air, Christmas in LA seemed like a hectic, commerce-driven affair. I worked in restaurants through the twelve days of Christmas, serving people that talked about “re-gifting”, casually abused me with aggressive waving or cool comments. I bit my lip when people paid for their expensive dinner and then skimped on the a tip.
But with the global and financial climate changing things for everyone, I see a different kind of Christmas unfolding in LA—one where friendships and family are celebrated with simple gestures. Parking lots of consignment and charity shops are packed with customers looking for simple gifts. Spontaneous craftiness has taken over as homemade gifts top the list of things to give. Suddenly, homemade gifts aren’t frowned upon. Friends all over town give music mixes, tins of cookies and chocolate, and homemade jams and jellies.
This year, I celebrate Christmas with a warm stove, a full glass, a happy heart, and my family of friends around me.
Lexi’s favorite chocolate chip cookies
From the Martha Stewart Cookbook: Collected Recipes for Every day
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½-2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
* Parchment paper (this makes for easy removal and perfect bottomed cookies!)Preheat oven to 375° F. Cream the butter in a large bowl until smooth; add the brown and granulated sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well blended. In another large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat this into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto the paper covered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and cool on a rack.