Or: "how I spent my Sunday afternoon"
Behold the bounty: cinnamon pinwheels, cappuccino love bites, pretzels in almond bark, pretzel turtles, half and half peanut butter chocolate thingies, and cranberry almond drop cookies. These are not the official names.
Our hostess also baked ahead of time a loaf of holiday bread for each of us (seen on the chair) and some savory peppery nutty cheesy disks (not pictured). Again, not the official names—especially that last one. I'm actually laughing aloud as I read that one.
For the second year now, I've been included in a small holiday baking gathering—there are three of us. I'm reasonably certain that this will be my last. I don't believe that my partners will shed any tears, either. A surrogate was even delicately mentioned (to my relief) in conversation toward the end.
I say this with no ill will. These are good, polite, and genial women. I'm just not cut out for the high stress world of holiday baking. I'm inexperienced, need far too much direction, and clearly do not grasp the importance of timing and not choosing sweets that require chilling after preparation. Oh, yeah, and I have nut allergies, so there's some amount of mutual guilt hanging in the air—theirs for choosing a recipe with nuts and mine for being the root of another's guilt. (I actually don't mind the nuts. Makes it all the more easy to avoid overindulgence.)
I was seriously tense and on edge the whole time. I had a glass of wine when I got home just to unwind and recuperate.