When I think about the holidays, I have many memories of family events, fun activities, and church services. Baking and cooking in the kitchen are among some of my fondest memories. I remember making cut-out sugar cookies each year with my mama. Some years my cousins or friends would join in the fun. I also remember that each year my grandmother would get together with her sisters and they would spend a day baking all different kinds of cookies to have throughout the holiday season. They had so much fun together that day and we kids enjoyed sampling all of their hard work. I’ve been baking with my children for years and while we bake all year long it seems we do even more baking near the holidays as we prepare to give baked goods as gifts and to feast and enjoy. This year we even started a new tradition of decorating cookies with my cousins and their little ones. We had five children 3 and under (and two more that couldn’t’ make it this year) and they had so much fun putting icing and sugar on the cookies. It was messy and a bit crazy but so much fun and so many memories were made.
Sometimes we hesitate to get into the kitchen and bake because we are worried our kids are too young, it will be too big of a mess, the cookies won’t turn out right, or we feel there are so many other things to do and it is just one more thing on an ever growing to-do list. I really want to encourage you to take the time to make those memories, but I also want to give you permission to do what works for you. We most frequently bake our cookies from scratch and even the little ones help mix and pour. It helps with fine motor skills and the bigger children work on math as they do measuring and fractions. However, sometimes you just buy the Betty Crocker mix and make the cookies. If baking with your little ones seems like just too much, start by baking them yourselves and letting them help decorate. In our house we have one who can’t tolerate food dyes, so we use India Tree Natural Colors to make icings or colored sugar (simply take regular table sugar and mix in a few drops of coloring) to decorate.
If you want to have cookies ready to go for fun events, tea times, unexpected company, or other events you can make extra cookie dough and freeze the dough in a log or in balls and have it ready to go next time you need cookies. This helps limit the mess and save some time while still letting you use whatever homemade recipe you love. There are some recipes that do not freeze well but most basic chocolate chip, sugar cookies, shortbread, or gingerbread cookies do well in the freezer.
Another fun idea is to invite some friends over for a cookie party. You can either have everyone bake different kind of cookie at home and bring some to share or have everyone bring the ingredients and recipe for their favorite cookies and you can work together to bake the different types of cookies. Then each family can take some home or you can share them with neighbors, public service workers, or a nursing home.
Some of my favorites growing up were sugar cookies and chocolate chip. However, there are so many yummy varieties. I’ve included some of my favorite recipes for cookies that we use around Christmas as well as some favorites of friends of mine that celebrate Hanukkah. No matter what you celebrate baking together can create fond memories and delicious treats.
If you want a good book to go along with your cookie party and help you to focus on the story of Christmas, I recommend The Gift of the Christmas Cookie. It is a sweet and touching book that helps us remember what Christmas is all about. Our plan is to bake cookies next week and then enjoy reading the book while we sample some cookies and milk. Another fun choice is to read Cranberry Christmas and then bake the cranberry cookies from the recipe at the end of the book.
Cookie Recipes to Try:
Some of these were recommended by friends, some I found and wanted to try and some are family recipes that we have been using for years.
Honey-Nut Rugelach Cookies ( My friend made these for an international event we did this week and they were so very yummy!)
Jelly Doughnuts (so not technically a cookie but a nice sweet treat)
Christmas and Generic Cookie Recipes:
Almond-Maple Short Bread (These are on my list to try this year)
Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies (these are the ones we made growing up)
Mama Grace’s tea cakes (My grandmothers recipe)
Granny’s Oatmeal Lace Cookies My husband’s grandmother’s recipe that she passed down to me.)
Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List.
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
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Deals and Freebies!
A Christmas Carol Audio Book Only $.66 (Amazon prices subject to change)
Amazon has put Heroes Next Door: Hornet 24 on sale and there is a coupon on the page to make it even cheaper! This is a great Christmas gift.
Free I”m Thankful For…. Book from Amazon! (Always check prices as they are subject to change)
The 2018 Lego Advent Set is on sale right now for only $21.97. If you are looking for one grab it soon because they typically sell out!
The World of Peter Rabbit and His Friends Only .99 on Kindle! We love Beatrix Potter’s stories and this one includes her original illustrations.
Sunny Under the Sea Free (always double check because Amazon changes prices regularly!)
FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!
FREE Writing About Books: Book Reports and Beyond from Write Shop!