The nest was empty: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The registrar’s offices had the tuition checks signed by the farmer father, for this tale chauffeur, and the mother—that’s me. The Old Nest was as empty as a drum. (This introduction offered with profound gratitude and apologies to Mr. Dickens.)

Christmas, for as long as I can remember, has been a flurry of activity. No doubt, most readers here can relate to the overflow of food, family, festivities that often begin as soon as the Jack-O-Lantern’s face starts to wilt. That was our life, until…

The children were grown and away at their respective universities. Sure, we had the obligatory Thanksgiving and laundry weekend. (There’s ALWAYS laundry.) The precious fruits of my loins even managed to put up the tree.

Decorating Tree

The gifts were done. Church choir practice was in full swing. And yet, my inner elf was nowhere to be found. No song, event, nor twinkle light stirred me into the familiar joy of the season. In all its glorious splendor of 24/7 romantic schmaltz, Hallmark lost out to true crime and reruns of Law & Order. I even referred to Love Actually as emotional sadism. “Why would I make myself cry on purpose?” Yes, I spoke those words and, if I recall, shared them across social media, because of course, you do. Right??

This Christmas funk had to go. So, I began to bake. Butter, flour, eggs, sugar— confectioners, brown and regular—bunt pans—mini and large—red and green tissue, cupcake liners with holly berries, and sugar sprinkle shakers covered every surface of my kitchen.

The husband didn’t question or make a fuss. He calmly ate pizza off paper plates for a few days before venturing to ask, “What are you going to do with all this?” Excellent question. Christmas was mere days away. It wasn’t as though I were boxing up gifts for teachers, as we once did. The family gatherings—you remember those—while always a food fest didn’t need twelve dozen cookies, thirty loaves of bread, candy-coated pretzels, pans of fudge, or quarts of eggnog.

I paused and said, “We’re going to give them away. I don’t feel like Christmas. I have to do something.” And with the patience of Job, he said, “Do you need me to bring anything from storage?” This is husband speak for “what can I do?”  I keep everything in the storage unit, mostly in its place and mostly I know where things are.

The general vicinity.

I can narrow it down to three or four boxes. But I digress…

We packaged everything in pretty gift bags, loaded up disposable Santa plates with assorted goodies wrapped in colored cellophane, filled the back of my SUV with the bounty, and started driving. I must note here; we live in the country. Our nearest neighbor is a mile away. We never miss meteor showers, full moons, or this year’s “Christmas Star” alignment of Jupiter and Saturn due to city light pollution.

Christmas Star

This was a mission not an errand. As we drove, not knowing who might be home or where the next stop would be, it happened. Just like Scrooge and The Grinch, a small flicker of hope and joy began. Our friends and neighbors laughed in surprise and invited us inside for some cheer. We interrupted two family Christmas parties and stayed for toasts and some laughter at their fires. Two weren’t home, but the barn doors were unlocked, and we were able to slip in and leave the gift.

Our little drive through the country and thirty miles into town began as a “quick drop off” and turned into hours of joy and laughter and tradition. The following three years, we started our gift parade on the Sunday before Christmas by filling the SUV and parking in front of the church entrance, passing out goodies as our family and friends left services.

As you read this week, the kitchen is once again filled with scents of baking. A fine dusting of flour and powdered sugar needs to be swept up. The dining table is piled with treat bags ready to be delivered from a safe distance, of course. We won’t go inside, and most will probably be set on front porches. And that’s ok. This year above all others, we embrace the joy and hope of the season. Relish the simple pleasure of waving to a friend and the love baked into a cookie.

Each year I try something new. A hundred versions of 2020s foolproof cookie can be found on Pinterest. I love cake box cookies for a quick and easy treat. These are light, airy, and who doesn’t love anything that starts with butter and cream cheese?

Snowflake Cookies


KR Brorman


  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp Wild Turkey American Honey Whiskey or Vanilla extract
  • 1 15.25 oz. box White cake mix
  • 1 8 oz brick cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine the cream cheese and butter with a mixer until you have a cream consistency.
  • Add egg and whiskey or vanilla extract.
  • Mix until incorporated. Finally, add the cake mix and mix until it is well combined and thick.
  • **Don’t skip ahead and dump it all together. Add cake last**
  • Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough {using a medium scoop or 1 1/2 tablespoons} onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or lined with parchment or a silicone mat. 
  • For a very soft-baked cookie, 9-11 minutes or until the edges are set, they will appear to be a little undercooked, but that is alright. 
  • For a firmer cookie, 13-15 minutes bakes a lovely golden cookie with more crunch without being brittle.
  • Remove your cookies from the oven and let them cool completely on the cookie sheet. 
  • Once cooled, sprinkle tops with powdered sugar. 
  • Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


The Author's Writings

Eden's FallA new romantic suspense from first-time author KR Brorman with CC Cedras and SA Young.

The most depraved purveyor of the modern slave trade reaches around the globe into the most unlikely little life.

Kenna Campbell had a perfectly good life plan.
Dump the abusive ex.
Open her own art gallery.
Live independently.

Love wasn’t on her list.

Everything was going according to plan, until the night her best friends, Candace and Frankie, helped her crash a society ball to sell a painting and she met Ret. Lieutenant Colonel Lucius Chaerea. He was a detail she hadn’t foreseen and she knew he would break her heart. Despite her fears, Kenna gradually lowers her defenses.

Lucius had resigned himself to a life in the shadows. Using a vast network, cultivated while serving with SAS Intelligence, God-given instincts and a select team of former soldiers, he fights the rising tide of terror and those who would profit from chaos and evil. The chance meeting with Kenna throws a bright warm light into his heart and life. He would exchange that life to keep her safe.

When tragedy strikes, the bonds of friendship send Kenna, Candace, and Frankie around the world and into the web of human trafficking. Will that bond be enough to ensure their survival?

Fans of Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown and Christina Dodd will be captivated by the danger and romance in this first novel of the Stilettos, Stoli & Scribbles series.

Recommended for mature audiences: domestic violence, rape, torture.

Buy Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo

About The AuthorKR BrormanAward winning author of Eden’s Fall and Winter’s Thaw a co-authored series. KR and husband Gregg live on their family farm in Texas, just off Route 66. Often called a daydreamer by teachers, KR channeled her creative streak and imagination into catering and event design for fifteen years before turning to writing. It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s a plot twist!

Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews



Recipe Rating

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -