This year, perhaps because I was so happy to be back home for Christmas, I decided I'd be a Santa's Elf and deliver sugary treats to our neighbors - chocolate chip cookies for the kids & biscotti for the grownups.
I've never done this before. Most of our neighbors "keep to themselves," as I might tell a reporter one day after someone down the street tries to take out the whole block with a truck full of fertilizer. For the most part, we're a well-mannered quiet street of Wavers.
With full plates & bags of freshly-baked cookies I skipped across the street to where Crazy Bob used to live to deliver the goods to a quiet young couple with two kids. They moved in just as we were moving out and even after we moved back, we've never exchanged a single word. I'm starting to think we scare people.
The wife/mom answered the door and looked perplexed, wondering who the weirdo was handing out cookies dressed in warm ups, a flour-dusted t-shirt and Santa hat. I told her I was her across-the-street neighbor and she look chagrined. She thanked me profusely and I felt smug as I cheerfully said "Merry Christmas!" and skipped off to my next stop.
I went next door to the Curmudgeon's house and knocked on their door. They've lived there forever and knew my Nana before she moved on to a sweet condo in the sky. His wife answered wearing an awesome Christmas sweater and she looked shocked to see me. I handed her a gift bag of biscotti and chirped "Merry Christmas!" and she fumbled out an awkward "thank you." I skipped along to the next house.
Really, I was happy to spread some Christmas cheer. They're not bad neighbors, just a little aloof and/or sometimes kinda rude. We have other neighbors we talk to fairly often & it was great to see them & get caught up. It was a lovely part of my Christmas Eve.
As I was making breakfast the next morning, the doorbell rang, which was odd - I'm pretty sure our house is on a Run For Your Life list used by solicitors, Jehoshaphat's Witnesses & Mormons. David answered the door to see Curmudgeon's wife holding a plate of cookies. He said she couldn't get off the porch fast enough & back across the street.
David brought the cookies into the kitchen and while it was a really nice gesture, it looked like they'd been plucked out of the trash & hastily assembled on a festive plate. Even the plastic wrap was crumpled and resting on top of the cookies, no cling left in it to stick around the plate.
If they weren't Bin Cookies, they were very likely Regift Cookies, but they were definitely Guilt Cookies. I'll eat just about any cookie on the planet, but these were awful. They weren't just stale, the flavor made my mouth cry. We tried to find one that was edible but no luck. They're Bin Cookies now, but it was a sweet thought.
Next year I'm going to bring her a nice big bowl of soup & see what comes back.