“A Most Wonderful Christmas,” Dec. 7, 2021

Tomorrow, my husband and I hope to get a Christmas tree. We will decorate it with a flock of fake red birds, some snowflakes that my grandmother crocheted long ago, and a few tacky, but treasured, ornaments.

For me, it doesn’t take much to make Christmas wonderful. I don’t need gifts. I’d rather give them. And I surely don’t need treats. Except snickerdoodles that my husband makes.

Basically, to celebrate, I need just a few things: Family and friends. Movies (“Elf” and “Love Actually.”) Music (“O Holy Night” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”) A Christmas tree. And a candlelight service to remind me that I’m celebrating the gift of a child, who was born in a barn to save the world.

That’s about it. Today I baked cookies, but not for Christmas. They’re an everyday kind I call “The All-Time Easiest and Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever.”

I make them often. More often than I should. My grandkids love them. Even Wiley, who’s a cookie connoisseur. Once, when I gave him one made of oatmeal, Wiley said, “Nana, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but this doesn’t look like a cookie.”

OK, I’ll give you the recipe for my peanut butter cookies. I’ve posted it before, but if I don’t do it now, I’ll get a ton of requests. (Readers like to read, but they really love to eat.) Here it is:

Combine one cup of peanut butter with one cup of sugar and an egg. No flour. Mix well. Spoon onto a greased pan to form 12 cookies. Flatten with a fork. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cool, and try not to eat them all at once.

I gave most of the ones I made today to my husband and two of his buddies who are having fun playing music in our garage.

Listen. Can you hear them? I can. They sound good. The cookies probably help.

I like those guys a lot. I especially like what they mean to my husband. They’ve been his friends and fellow musicians for years. Making music is their way to spend time together. It’s like a book club without the books.

Last week, I spoke at a luncheon for a group of women who’ve been meeting monthly for more than 30 years to talk about books and life. During the pandemic, they began meeting only online. The luncheon was their first in-person meeting in almost two years.

I wish you could’ve been there. It felt like a family reunion.

One of things I love best about Christmas is the way it brings us together with family and friends and even with strangers, who smile as we pass on the street, and we smile back and wish each other, “Merry Christmas!”

On his first Christmas album, Andy Williams sang what would become a classic, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

It was 1963, a year much like the present one, when violence and conflict threatened to tear our lives and our nation apart.

U.S. military involvement in Vietnam was escalating. That August, more than 200,000 people marched on Washington, D.C., in support of civil rights and heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech. And on Nov. 22, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Some years, more than others, we need Christmas to be the most wonderful time of the year.

A time that’s filled with family, friends, music and laughter, and candlelight services to remind us of why we are celebrating.

A time that makes us thankful for all we have, and happy to help those who have less.

A time that brings us together, with all our many differences, in peace and hope and joy.

Here’s wishing us all the kind of Christmas we need—a most wonderful time of the year.

Yes, the cookie recipe is your gift.


  1. Today my husband made some peanut butter treats for our dog Ruth. Of course this made the whole house smell like peanut butter. So then we really wanted peanut butter cookies!! I read (and love) your column every week and had written down this recipe. Believe it or not I actually remembered where I had put it! I just wanted to thank you so much. They really are “The All-Time Easiest and Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever.” They are SO delicious!!! They are also the first thing I have baked in our new home—in a new city—in a new state—where we moved to be closer to our daughters. 🙂

  2. Your column was a special gift – second only to your cookie recipe! Advent, followed by Christmas is a season of anticipation and hope. It is good to be reminded of the gifts of this season and the importance of giving in even the most simple ways.

  3. Merry CHRISTmas, from Solano County. Under movies, you forgot the MOST IMPORTANT one, which is our CHRISTmas Eve Tradition, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which I personally prefer in color 🙂

  4. Kate Sciacca says

    Welcome back dear lady! And thanks for the gift… I’ll let you know what my critics think 😜. Ten year old Rose has become quite the cake baker… apparently Rosines may have some serious competition. I will head over the hill in my Impreza sleigh… weather permitting… and deliver gifts next week. Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother. Most folks don’t quite understand that one… they think it has something to do with Our Lord, and of course in a certain way it most definitely does. But, this is about Her beginning…. Nine months from now, on September 8th, we will celebrate her birthday. God is so thorough in all that He does. A blessed and Merry Christmas to you and all dear to you.

  5. Hazel W. Cusac says

    Enjoy your columns so much and will bake a batch of your peanut butter cookies soon. At 101 years plus, cookies are my favorite dessert.

  6. When I was a kid in grade school , the cafeteria would serve peanut butter cookies , and they always had Fork marks on top , great memory , Merry Christmas 🎄

  7. I love to read your encouraging words…so needed for so many. Yes. And thank you for sharing the birth of Jesus in your article. Christmas reminds us that Jesus is the REAL reason for the season. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  8. Merry Christmas & God Bless you & yours. I love peanut butter cookies and my recipe is slightly different. I add a few drops of vanilla & don’t sprinkle with anything. We are trusting our big family can get together for the holiday. Daughter usually has it at her house. She’s a CCRN & was recently assigned to the covid unit so she is exposed every shift. Thankfully she continues to test negative. God is good.

  9. Dick Daniel says

    Thank you – I love peanut butter cookies, but have never made any. This looks like a recipe even I can make.
    Merry Christmas!

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