It's one of the most distinct things I remember from childhood. Although I wish it wasn't. It started with the satchel, a leather sidebag that was donated to orphans in Mexico. I happened to be at the orphanage that weekend, playing with kids my age while my father worked on building a new septic tank, and a new group of Americans visited the orphanage with bags of clothes and items. A kind lady spoke to the kids in broken Spanish and then handed out donated items, and I received the satchel. Probably because I looked like lived at the orphanage.
I took the bag home and it became my most coveted item. One Christmas--as my family prepared to visit a popular neighborhood filled with Christmas decorations and lights--I made batches of cookies. They're for the family, I told myself. As my father called everyone to the car, I dumped three dozen cookies in my satchel and sat in the back seat of our minivan. A few hours--and 36 cookies--later, I peeled myself from the backseat and went to bed, worrying I ate more cookies than Santa does during his gift-dropping expeditions.
Every Christmas when I make cookies, I can't help but think of that moment. The moment I reached into the bottom of that leather satchel and realized it was empty. The moment I realized THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!