The holidays are a fun time for every student. They get out of school for a couple of weeks, don’t have to worry about class work once finals are finished and they get a break from their teachers. What most students don’t think about during the holidays is the fact that, yes, teachers celebrate Christmas, too. Many of Marian’s beloved staff members said that some of their favorite parts of the holiday season include making, decorating and eating Christmas cookies, watching all of the classic Christmas movies and spending time with family that they don’t get to see often.
However, while there are the “typical” Christmas activities to celebrate with, many members of the staff have unique traditions with their families. While the majority of Marian’s students and staff members set aside time each holiday season to make Christmas cookies, math teacher Mrs. Jaime Piernicky takes that to a whole new level. Each year, she gets together with a group of friends and they make up to 2,000 cookies to share with their friends and families.
Piernicky has been baking huge amounts of cookies for several years and over time she has developed the perfect team to help her execute her plan.
“I used to do this with another friend who moved away, and I really had to think long and hard about who I could ask who would approach this the same way I do. When I asked my friend, I laid the whole thing out for her, like “This is how I want to do it, would you want to do this?” Piernicky said. Her close friend agreed, and years later they have grown their baking duo into a team of four.
“We are each in charge of two or three different things, and then we’ll bake enormous quantities of those,” Piernicky said. “I make about 1,000 peanut butter balls, and then I’ll make probably an eight-time batch of shortbread, which fills five jelly roll pans.” Piernicky’s three friends all pull their own weight, making everything from gingerbread men to fudge and coconut truffles.
“We’ll do a lot of our prep work before hand, and then we have a Saturday early in December where we get together and we’ll finish everything baking wise and packaging the cookies,” Piernicky said. “We start at about 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning where we’ll drink coffee and make our battle plan, and then we work on it all day until it’s done. We take it very seriously.”
By that scheduled Saturday, Piernicky already has most of her work done. “I’ll probably start rolling my peanut butter balls this weekend, because we’ll do it in two weeks,” Piernicky said. With peanut butter balls rolled, shortbread dough made and all that will be left to do is bake, decorate and box the cookies up.
At the end of their baking day, Piernicky and her lineup have crafted upwards of 2,000 or 3,000 cookies. “We pack about a hundred boxes of cookies to give to friends, neighbors and teachers, and then we each take huge amounts of cookies just for our own families,” Piernicky said. “I freeze mine, and dole them out periodically.”
“Every year, we write up a big record of everything we do, detailing what we made, how much we made, anything that went wrong,” Piernicky said. “So, I have a detailed record of notes going back almost 15 years now. It’s my favorite part of Christmas, and I think it’s nice to point out that your traditions that mean a lot to you aren’t just with your family.”