Is the 5-pointed star a Christmas thing?
December 17, 2019 7:59 PM   Subscribe

If I make these cookies, will it come across as a Christmas thing? I'm making cookies for work and want to contribute to the festivities for those celebrating holidays this month while also respecting that people of many religions work at our office. Is the five-pointed star a Christian / Christmas thing, or is it adequately non-religious?

If I make cookies like the link above, will that come across as "Merry Christmas" or something more universal?

To me, it feels non-religious, but I admit that people put stars on top of their Christmas trees and sing songs about "following yonder star," etc., so maybe people would perceive it as a Christmas symbol.

I do have nesting cookie cutters that are more of a clover shape, so I could move away from the star altogether. But in my experimentation, the clover ones are more liable to looking messed up (the nested one is not as small so there's less "donut" and more "donut hole" in the top cookie, so any misalignment in the transfer from rolling sheet to cookie tray that deforms the shape can really mess up the shape and make the cookies not align at all, plus it's harder to get the jam right with a thin "donut"). So I like it less.

It's important to me to be respectful, so if there's a chance that a star will read as a Christmas thing, I want to go with the clover. But I can also overthink things sometimes. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Thanks!
posted by Spokane to Society & Culture (26 answers total)
 
Can't speak for everyone, but I do not celebrate Christmas, and these would not come off as overly Christmas-ey to me.
posted by eponym at 8:03 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


This Jew says stars are great, your cookies will be beautiful, everything is fine. Enjoy your office party.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:06 PM on December 17, 2019 [11 favorites]


If I saw any cookies with powdered sugar this time of year I would think of them as "Christmas cookies". But I think of Christmas cookies as a cultural more than a religious phenomenon (like fruit cake). The star is just a shape and doesn't add to the Christmas or religious sentiment for me.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 8:07 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


I doubt anyone would find it disrespectful—the symbol of the star comes from the star of Bethlehem that guided the three wise men to the baby Jesus, but it’s since become a widely accepted symbol for holiday/Christmas, along with candy canes, Santa, etc. If you want something that has no religious connotations at all, whatsoever, the star may not work, but it doesn’t have the same religious flavor as a cookie of baby Jesus in the manger, or anything like that.
posted by sallybrown at 8:16 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


Nthing that absent any other religious iconography, I'd think of them as star-shaped holiday/Christmas cookies, but not an overtly religious thing. Not out-of-place in a secular holiday celebration and unlikely to be viewed as disrespectful. (Formerly Christian, now agnostic here, if that helps.)
posted by Aleyn at 8:28 PM on December 17, 2019


I'm Muslim and never celebrated Christmas as a kid, but we did make cookies with stars and angels and other Christmasy shapes at home. Any other time of year I would just think of your cookies as star-shaped but right now they would be Christmas cookies. And I would happily eat them.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 8:43 PM on December 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


They would not look out of place in an array of Christmas cookies, but on their own they would not say "Christmas" to me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:43 PM on December 17, 2019


If you can somehow turn them into snowflakes it would be seasonally festive with even less religious undertones.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 8:44 PM on December 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


You could also use the well-floured rims of large and small glasses as 'cutters' to make round cookie shapes, if your nesting cookie cutters don't suit.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:51 PM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm heathen, and I'd find those cookies delightful.
posted by sourcequench at 8:57 PM on December 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


The five pointed star is sometimes the star of Bethlehem, an extremely Christmas thing. But that's kind of like saying a pair of candlesticks is an extremely Jewish thing - they become Jewish when you light them for Shabbat and say the prayers. If these cookies are part of a secular office party thing, they're fine. Just don't set up three flavors of cheeseballs next to them labeled gold, frankincense and myrrh and call them the Magi.
posted by Mizu at 9:13 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Five-pointed stars are often used as Fourth of July decor, so no, they are not inherently religious.
posted by namret at 9:15 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


i would read them as christmas.
posted by gaybobbie at 10:56 PM on December 17, 2019


I grew up Baptist, and the only star I would read as inherently Christian is if there was a long tail at the end of it (Star of Bethlehem like Mizu said, usually portrayed like this or this).

Another anecdata point that I would just read those as winter cookies, since my grandma only busts out the powdered sugar for Christmas.
posted by lesser weasel at 11:03 PM on December 17, 2019


Jewish girl here. I would see them as Christmassy, in the way that snowpeople, Santa, and holiday parties are, and not in the "jeez, does everything always have to be about THAT religion?" way. I'd be cool.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 11:19 PM on December 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


Maybe if you used a less red colored jam they might read a little less Christmasy? Maybe blackberry and then dust the whole thing with powdered sugar so it looks like snow/stars on a dark “sky.”
posted by Weeping_angel at 11:44 PM on December 17, 2019


Given a few comments like the ones marked best above, I'm going to go with circles and clovers. It's only a little harder (I've kind of gotten the knack of it). Thanks!
posted by Spokane at 11:50 PM on December 17, 2019 [2 favorites]


This Jew’s first thought was the Macy’s logo, so more thanksgiving than Christmas from my perspective.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 3:36 AM on December 18, 2019


As a Wiccan I would embrace those cookies wholeheartedly. If you also make some crescent moons to go with them I'd even think you were secretly Pagan (or at least into astronomy).
posted by heatherlogan at 5:31 AM on December 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Avoid it entirely and don't use a star shape. The cookies will taste the same, right?
posted by agregoli at 5:44 AM on December 18, 2019


We decorate our circle cookies as wreaths—that’s a very seasonal symbol that’s not so much Christmas (probably older than Christmas actually!)
posted by sallybrown at 5:59 AM on December 18, 2019


It's important to me to be respectful, so if there's a chance that a star will read as a Christmas thing,

I can't tell if your question is whether a Christmas Star Cookie is disrespectful or if a star shape connotes Christmas. I think the answers are No and Yes.
posted by Pig Tail Orchestra at 7:54 AM on December 18, 2019


As a Wiccan I would embrace those cookies wholeheartedly. If you also make some crescent moons to go with them I'd even think you were secretly Pagan (or at least into astronomy).

Pretty neat how our experiences will imprint different meanings on a plate of cookies. To me, a Muslim, a combination of crescent moons and stars would change the cookies from Christmas to something Islamic.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:14 AM on December 18, 2019 [3 favorites]


This here Jew says the stars are a) completely inoffensively Christmassy and b) way cuter than just circles! You sound like your mind is made up, but I hope you do make the stars, because if I were at the party I would be significantly more delighted by star-shaped cookies than circular ones (shapes are fun!)
posted by some_kind_of_toaster at 7:56 PM on December 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


Hehe, Pagan joining the club here, who would also be delighted to see five-pointed stars. I think of them (especially with powdered sugar) as winter, not Christmas.
posted by fiercecupcake at 9:44 AM on December 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


If you made these for a work event I would be sure to wish you a Happy Yule at some point.
posted by yohko at 3:09 PM on December 26, 2019


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