‘Favorite day of the year’

Through the years, families develop traditions – some endure and some

Amy Wood offers her assistance to the kids at the decorating table during the family’s “Cookie Day” tradition. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON


But for well more than 50 years, the Winkleblech family has had “Cookie Day.”

“It’s my favorite day of the year,” said Amy Wood, a sentiment echoed by many who were there.

The extended family gathered on the Saturday following Thanksgiving – as they do each year – to bake and decorate Christmas cookies. Over time, the day “Cookie Day” actually takes place has changed, but for many years now the event holds the current date.

The annual family event brings together aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. Each family brings a cookie to build platters for everyone to take home and some cookies are baked in the morning.

Lane Bledsoe dips a brush in blue icing at his first Winkleblech family “Cookie Day.” STAFF PHOTOS/STACI WILSON

The family takes a break for lunch and then the kids gather at the decorating tables set up in the lower level of Carol Winkleblech’s home where they add their magic touches to the sugar cookies.

Mary O’Brien and her mother, Eleanor, were the original “Cookie Day” twosome. But as Mary’s brothers, Merle and Joe Winkleblech married their wives – Carol and Marge, respectively – were brought into the fold. Then their children, and now their children’s children partake in the annual event.

On a “big year” over 40 family members are able to make it to “Cookie Day.” The generations reminisce about past celebrations, family members and connect with those they don’t get to see on a regular basis – forging memories to carry through future generations.

Mary is in charge of the baking done that day. “She doesn’t use a timer,” Amy said. “She knows in her body when they are done.”

Aleese Joseph helps younger family members: Faith Ord, Lenna Bledsoe, Colt Bledsoe and Leigha Wood mix the colored icing to frost the sugar cookies.

Mary said that when she was young, her grandmother would be there and she would get to hold any baby that was there. Then, her mother ascended to the baby-holding privilege. “I’m the oldest, I should get to hold the baby,” she joked.

“It’s the one day a year I can count on to see everybody,” said Carol’s daughter, Meggan.

“It’s the only time the cousins all get to see each other,” Marge offered.

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