My family would purchase our Christmas cookies from Irene Sedlacek (pronounced said-luh-check) in my mom's hometown. Irene would make hundreds of dozens of cookies every holiday season, and sell them, to make some money.
Her cookies: sour cream sugar cookies, with frosting and sprinkles. Shapes: Trees, plain circles, stars, and something else I can't remember. The cookies froze beautifully.
Irene died a few years ago, at an advanced age (I'm guessing she was well over 90). Her daughter was besieged with condolences, and after a mannerly waiting period, she was besieged with requests for Irene's cookie recipe. It seems that many of us just couldn't have Christmas without Irene's cookies, and now we realized we would have to make them ourselves!
And of course, Irene's recipe was mostly in her head! Her daughter regretfully told us all that, and said if she found it somewhere, she would be sure to let us know. Lo and behold, she did find it, and my mother sent me the recipe out of the blue, through old-fashioned mail, on an old-fashioned paper recipe card, handwritten. Seems very quaint, nowadays. And dang, those cookies are awesome. They are a new tradition for my daughter and me--making roll-out sugar cookies.
Our shapes? Trees, "gingerbread" men, candy canes, and stars. I'm getting excited already, and it's not even Thanksgiving. What is your favorite holiday cookie?
Irene Sedlacek's Sugar Cookies:
5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 T. cream of tartar
400 degrees, 9-10 minutes
(That's all you get. The recipe presumes you know how and when and why to combine things when you do. I love that about old recipes!)