The countdown begins. Only nine days until Christmas! The Christmas tree is up and decorated. The stockings are hung. The cards from friends and loved ones have started to arrive and fill up our house with joy and happiness. Parties and holiday events are plentiful. The stores are jam-packed with shoppers looking for that perfect gift. And, my children are opening their advent calendars each morning in search of small chocolate treasures.
I love this time of year. The lights, the merry ambiance of the stores, the streets and the homes. The festive, happy mood. The Christmas music playing 24/7 on the radio and in the mall. It is the one time of year that makes people happy, or so it seems. Yes, I can play the Grinch and complain about the commercialization of Christmas, the stress of the holidays, etc but I won’t. For there is no better time of year in the eyes of a Christmas-celebrating child than Christmas. It is magical, joyful and a time to be together with the ones you love.
Growing up, I always loved Christmas. It was my most favorite holiday of the year! With my birthday in early December on St. Nick’s Day (hmmm…is that why I was named Nicole?), December was always a highly anticipated month of joy, fun and celebration. It also meant special time together as a family. We always saw both sets of Grandparents and I had never spent a Christmas Day at home in my entire childhood. In my early childhood, we traveled to Harlingen, Texas to visit my Grandparents on my father’s side. As we got older, we went somewhere warm as a family during our two-week winter break.
One of my most favorite family traditions during my childhood was baking Christmas cookies. We did a double batch of sugar cookies shaped in holiday cut-outs and colored in red and green frosting, each and every year until I left the house. We typically baked the cookies in early December giving us an entire month to eat and enjoy them. The leftovers were placed in the freezer where they were quickly consumed in the month of January (that is, if there were any left!).
Christmas cookie making is a tradition that I brought over to my family as well and we have been making Christmas cookies together since my children were in diapers. It is a much messier and more time-consuming process, but it is so much fun! I have the Christmas carols playing, the candles going and the entire house smells like sugar cookies! It is delightful!
Here are some pictures of our Christmas cookie baking. Hope you enjoy and wishing I could send some via the internet your way!
At 4 pm, after school we began making our cookies. Thankfully we had made the cookie dough the night before saving us time as well as having the dough nice and cool, making it easy to roll out.
Max enjoyed rolling the dough with his hands. He still loves play-doh even at seven thus what could be better than using real dough to make cookies!
Our first batch of cookies is ready to go into the oven!
Max and Sophia are having fun and not fighting for once! Ha Ha….
Batch one of ten comes out of the oven looking tasty!
The kids assign themselves responsibilities. Max rolls the dough and cuts out the shapes while Sophia carries the unbaked cookie over to the baking tray.
Max is hard at work and deep in concentration.
By 6 pm, we have trays of baked cookies cooling.
The frosting is made with powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Then we add some food coloring to spice things up.
By seven o’clock, we are still frosting. Sticky, gooey frosting is everywhere!
Don’t they look lovely?
By 8:30 pm, the kids are in bed and I’m finally cleaning up the gigantic mess in the kitchen. I’m exhausted after four and a half hours of baking. But to have that first hot cookie with a glass of cold milk was worth all the effort. And the kids were overjoyed to continue on with our special family tradition and bake fest!
Wishing you a happy and joyful holiday season!
Stay tuned…more China coming up soon as well as two more parts to Embracing Family Traditions! Thanks for reading!