Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cookies’

Christmas For My Family

November 24, 2019

Last month I shared what Christmas was like for me as a child. Now I’ll tell you about how I celebrate Christmas with my wife and children.

Christmas music may be heard anytime during the month of November, but it usually isn’t played exclusively until the day after Thanksgiving. At 12 noon Thanksgiving day our favorite internet Christmas station, https://www.stfrancis.edu/spirit/, begins their all-Christmas programming. They continue playing Christmas music 24/7 until noon on January 2. We also fill our 5-disc CD player with CDs from our Christmas CD collection of well over 50 CDs. I sometimes think we have a larger selection of Christmas music than some radio stations.

We used to put up our outdoor decorations including the lights on our house Thanksgiving weekend. But, because it is frequently unbearably cold that weekend where we are, we started putting the lights on the roofline of our house earlier in the month. We just don’t plug them in until after Thanksgiving.

The Christmas tree is decorated the day after Thanksgiving. Our main tree is a 6-foot slim tree. My son likes to put up our 4-foot tree in the basement. We call it the kids tree. We decide on one of the four color schemes we have, red and silver, blue and silver, purple and silver, and anything goes. I think this year is an anything goes year. We put a lot of lights on the tree including a string of bubble lights.

We have 5 different ways, 4 books and 1 set of ornaments, we rotate through each year for advent. 3 of the books tell a story that is inter-related with the other 2 books to give 3 different perspectives of the days leading up to the birth of Jesus. The main characters go on their own journey while intersecting and interacting with the characters of the other 2 books.

Our church has a Christmas program put on by kids in the church. The program is put on the first weekend of December. Through the years several of my children have taken part in the Christmas program. This year my youngest daughter is in the program, my middle daughter is helping out with it, and one of my sons is handling one of the spotlights.

Our church’s adult choir also puts on a Christmas program a week or two after the kids program.

During the month of December the family makes several kinds of cookies and several batches of fudge. Everyone gets to help make cookies. At one time we made all the cookies on one Saturday in December. That quickly became a chore that I dreaded as the number of kinds of cookies grew with the number of children in the family (we have 7 children). Now some of the older children are given the opportunity to make their favorite cookies anytime during December while I make 1 or 2 different kinds of cookies on “Cookie Saturday.”

Christmas morning the children are not allowed out of their rooms except to use the bathroom. They are not to go into the living room with the tree or into the kitchen before Mom or I call them. We fix breakfast of egg casserole and put their stockings out so they can have them during breakfast. Before the gifts are passed around we read the Christmas story out of the Bible or the last chapter of the Advent story book. We always have Christmas music playing while we open gifts usually with a fireplace video playing in our DVD player.

By the time we finish with the gifts it’s almost lunch time. We don’t have the traditional turkey or ham for Christmas. Instead we make an extra cheesy and meaty lasagna. We like doing this because there’s less clean up afterward. This year we’re going to have a couple cheesecakes for dessert instead of pies.

After lunch we play games and enjoy our gifts and each other.

That is our Christmas celebration. How do you celebrate Christmas?

Stressful, Expensive Christmas Traditions

November 23, 2018

Are some of your Christmas traditions are causing you more stress or are costing you more than you wish to spend?  Early on those traditions were very enjoyable.  You looked forward to doing them.  But now you may be dreading the tradition that you once enjoyed.

If that is the case with you consider modifying the tradition so it will become enjoyable once again, come up with a less expensive version of the tradition, or drop the tradition all together.

Case in point, when my children were younger (and there were fewer of them) I dedicated one Saturday in December to making cookies for Christmas.  Each child would choose a kind of cookies to make, and we would make it together.  I really enjoyed making cookies with my children. But, as our family grew and three kinds of cookies became five or six kinds of cookies, the tradition became a chore; and I dreaded doing it.  So I decided some changes should be made.  My oldest daughter loved Chocolate Mint Snow-tops so I told her if she wanted them she could make them anytime before Christmas.  Also, instead of every child choosing a kind of cookie, we chose as a group what kinds of cookies we would make.

This year I’m planning to make just two kinds of Christmas cookie, frosted sugar cookies and spritz cookies.  I no longer dread Christmas cookie day.

 

Chocolate Mint Snow-top Cookies

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce package mint-flavored, semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2/3 cup powdered sugar

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  In small saucepan over low heat, melt one cup morsels. In large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar.  Beat in melted morsels and vanilla; beat in eggs.  Gradually beat in dry ingredients.  Stir in remaining morsels.  Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze for 20 minutes or until firm.  Shape dough into 1inch balls; roll in powdered sugar.  Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until sides are set but centers are still slightly soft.  Let stand for 2 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 3 dozen cookies.

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: