I grew up feeling very special this time of year. My parents loved the holidays and they made the whole season magical for us every year. Don’t cringe now, but Halloween was actually the kickoff to the season. We dressed up in a fun costume and my Dad toted the three of us all around the neighborhood dodging the other moms and dads chasing their wired kids from house to house. We never had to check our candy bags for needles or strange things that creepy people tried to sneak into our innocent world to promote some crazy agenda. Our normal candy haul from that one night generally lasted about three weeks until Thanksgiving, one of my favorite days of the year. I mean, it’s a Thursday, full of food we didn’t eat all the time, parents who were amazingly relaxed and happy, family we didn’t see much, and potatoes. Lots of potatoes. My Grandma Mary was a potato fanatic. For every holiday meal, we always made one bowl of the smooth, buttery staple for her and one for the rest of us. True story. Oh, and football. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys and whomever they each played. Not great football, but football nonetheless.
The day after Thanksgiving, now famous as “Black Friday,” was baking and decorating day. We all gathered early at Mom and Dad’s home on Birdie Road, drank Wasil, decorated the house for Christmas and made cookies. Mom wasn’t much for cooking during the year, but man did she love making Christmas cookies. We made hundreds of cookies with all manner of flavors, shapes, colors, sizes, and toppings. I’m not sure she loved the process as much as she loved the smell. My Grandma Pauline spent her career as a chocolate candy maker for Stephanie’s Candy in Denver. My Mom used to tell me that her favorite childhood memory was burying her face in my Grandma’s apron and soaking up the smells from the day’s work when Grandma walked through the door.
In any event, we had cookies for days. We ate them and we gave them away. Interestingly we didn’t save many for Santa. I always thought that was weird. But then my Dad explained it to me. He told me that if Santa was to make it around the whole world in one night, he needed something more robust than cookies. He got a few cookies of course, but Santa also got two salami sandwiches on white bread with mustard. We also left a large empty glass with a note to let him know that the milk was in the fridge and to help himself. We didn’t put the milk out because Dad said it would sour being out that long. That always made sense to me. Santa must have loved our treat. He always wrote us a thank you note and passed along best wishes from the reindeer.
While it was always fun to see how many different ways we could decorate the cookies, the fact remains that we only had four or five basic shapes; we had trees, snowmen, stars and gingerbread men. Over the years, our shape list increased to Santa hats, reindeer, hearts and a few others, but I always wondered who was in charge of making cookie cutters and why they actually existed. Turns out cookie, or biscuit, cutters have been around since the 15th century. They were invented to make large batches of cookies and biscuits in exact, consistent shapes and sizes. Now that’s great if you want every one to be shaped like the others with only different “window dressing.” Red or green, one button or two, etc. Consistency and speed certainly has its place in industry and in life. Time is money, as they say.
In my business, I am grateful for the advent and sophistication of legal document creation systems that allow me to quickly and consistently include standard, important and required language in every plan we do. However, Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer and those other online legal “cookie cutter services” simply cannot discover, create or implement the 2/3 of your plan that is exceedingly personal and unique from every other individual’s on the planet. And when something happens in your family, who are you, your spouse or your kids gonna call? A customer service rep in India or Bangladesh?
That’s where we come in. We have been designing, creating and implementing custom estate and business plans for individuals and their families for 35 years. We aren’t a cookie cutter practice. Never have been. Never will be. And we would be happy to create a custom, one-of-a-kind plan for any of your family members and the best relationships in your life.
We are honored to be your trusted legal advisors and we’ll be here when you need us. To create your plan, to update it as things change, to help when something happens, or just to visit. Blessings to each of you in 2020. We pray you will experience a year of clear vision, prosperity and accomplishment (and delicious cookies!).
Douglas G. Goldberg, Esq.
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