What makes a Christmas cookie a “Christmas” cookie?

Tucked away in my old recipe box is a mid-1980s four-page women’s magazine holiday-issue clip-out, that boasted more than 50 different Christmas cookie recipes. As expected, it’s tattered and torn and hard to read with splotches of 30-year-old cookie dough residue, but the recipes are relevant and timeless.

Some were variations of a simple sugar cookie recipe, some were no-bake, such as the rum balls, and others were exquisitely shaped or contained a special ingredient, including gingerbread dough.

Through the years though, I’ve only made three or four of the recipes, but have held on to the recipe pages because I thought “maybe, someday ...”

Every year since the boys were little, it’s been our tradition to make the gingerbread or sugar cookie recipe and decorate them with icing and sprinkles. One of my favorite photos is of a 2-year-old Kevin, during a cookie decorating session, sporting icing on his cheeks and nose and an ear-to-ear grin.

That little boy just turned 32.

This weekend, I get to decorate cookies with his 3-year-old son, and am anticipating icing everywhere but on the cookies, and an endless, ear-to-ear grin, with lots of giggles too.

I’ve discovered through the years that it’s not the cookie itself that makes a “Christmas” cookie, but rather, the love, the laughter and the memories you create while making them.

The Mesa County Historical Society will host its annual Holiday Cookie Exchange from noon–1 p.m. Thursday at the Central Library, Mesa County Libraries, 443 N. Sixth St., in the Community Room.

“Bring some cookies and take home some cookies,” a news release said. Coffee will be served

The Grand Junction Senior Theatre will entertain during the event.

The Mesa County Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Mesa County history through meetings and programs about local history.

Want to be a part of preserving history? The Mesa County Historical Society is open to new members. Call MCHS President, Priscilla Mangnall at 260-5226 or email Priscilla.Mangnall@gmail.com for information.

Roice-Hurst Humane Society will host a Pet Loss Grief Group from 5:30 –6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at 362 28 Road.

A GJSentinel.com calendar post invites the public to “come celebrate the life of your beloved pet(s) under the guidance of a licensed counselor and with fellow pet lovers.”

“This will be a time to share your pet(s) stories with like minded people in a safe environment,” the post says.

Participants will make holiday pet ornaments in honor of their loyal companions. Pastries and hot beverages will be served.

Adults and children are welcome but space is limited. RSVP to Ashley at ashley@rhhumanesociety.org or 434-7337 ext. 103. A $5 donation, or donation of pet food is suggested.

The Grand Junction Vegan potluck is set for Saturday, at the Lakeside Community Room, 3150 Lakeside Drive.

Diners will gather at 5:30 p.m. and eat at 6 p.m.

The December theme is “Let’s be Festive.” Take a holiday dish or a vegan hors d’oeuvre, snack or appetizer, free of animal products, to serve 10. Bring the recipe with all ingredients listed, your own place setting and a beverage.

Go to meetup.com/VegGrandJunction for information and to RSVP.

An AARP Smart Driver Course is set for 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Friday at the Western Slope Driving Institute, 2486 Patterson Road.

Call 303-241-3414 or go aarpdriversafety.org for information and to register.

An launch meeting for a Community Solar Coop will be from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Tuesday, at Universalist Unitarian Congregation, 536 Ouray Ave.

According to a GJSentinel.com calendar post, “solar co-ops help a group of neighbors go solar together.”

“Our experts support you through the process and help you save money with a bulk purchase. We are organizing in Mesa County to help folks interested in solar to get questions answered and save money through group buying.”

Solar United Neighbors is a 501(3c) non profit. Call local organizer, Scott Beilfuss, at 250-2838, email gjscottb@gmail.com or go to solarunitedneighbors.org/colorado for information.

Twenty-seven Girl Scouts from across Colorado have earned the highest honor in Girl Scouting, including Grand Junction High School student, Kyra Terlouw.

The Gold Award is presented to girls who have completed “Take Action” projects that benefit their local communities and those around the world, a news release said.

“After experimenting with container gardening herself, Kyra TerLouw from Grand Junction, partnered with Community Food Bank to create vegetable container garden kits that are available to members of her community,” the release said.

The kits included soil, seeds, nutritional information, and a bilingual “how-to” brochure.

In a blog at gscoblog.org, TerLouw writes that she distributed 39 kits to families in the community.

“I kept track of the number of kits distributed and collected personal testimonies from family members who received them, as well as gathered feedback from food bank volunteers,” the blog says.

TerLouw adds that “The Gold Award helped strengthen my leadership and communication skills, both of which are needed in the ‘real world.’ Opportunities to take charge, speak publicly, and help others are everywhere. Earning my Gold Award has made me more self-confident.”

The annual bell ringing competition between the Kiwanis Club of Grand Junction and the Grand Junction Rotary Club took place Dec. 7 at more than 40 locations in the Grand Valley.

“Each December, the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs of Grand Junction compete in a bell ringing contest, designed to raise funds for The Salvation Army, which helps families in need year-round,” a news release said.

Both clubs wrote checks to The Salvation Army in advance of the competition, to give each club a “head start” a news release said.

Who won the competition? The Salvation Army, of course.

In recent years, the clubs have raised more than $40,000 during the four-hour period, the release said.

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Submit Your Town and community news items by email to communitynews@gjsentinel.com, by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Online calendar items can be uploaded at GJSentinel.com/calendar.

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