Bake a Holiday Tradition

Bake a Holiday Tradition

Our schedules are hectic and our pace is fast. Our calendar is over-booked and we rush through our lives. Yet we want the holiday season to have that same quality of specialness and innocence it seemed to have long ago.We yearn for the days we had the time to create beautiful strings of popcorn and cranberries for the Christmas tree or painstakingly craft garlands of colorful construction paper or decorate the windows with fancy holiday decorations.There’s a way to create the essence of past holidays in a simpler way than you might think involving one of my favorite subjects, cookies.See the list below for 12 easy ways to serve up a memorable and warm Holiday season. With a little bit of creativity, and just a few cookies, you can create special memories for everyone on your list.1. Write a personal note on holiday stationary about your favorite childhood memory or memories baking cookies. Include a copy of your favorite family-treasured recipe. Put your personal “cookie story” and recipe in a special holiday card. For the more creatively courageous, mount both together in a box frame for a gift that everyone will notice!2. Invite 10 of your best girlfriends to a holiday “Cookie Exchange” party. Ask everyone to pre-sort their cookies in uniquely decorated holiday containers that can be taken home. Guests not only walk away with exciting new recipes and several dozen freshly-baked holiday cookies but a re-usable “one-of-a-kind” container! For extra fun invite your guests to tell the “story” of the favorite cookie they brought to share.

3. Take a trip to your local crafts outlet with your kids to make a brightly-colored ceramic cookie plate for Santa Claus or give as a home-made gift to Grandma Grandpa. It’s a gift that’s sure to last for years to come.4. Design a gift basket chock full of cookie-baking supplies. Include a bright ceramic mixing bowl, a cookie spatula, various cookie sugars, high-end vanilla, a cookie sheet, parchment paper and a variety of festive holiday cookie cutters. Don’t forget to include your favorite cookie recipe!5. Make and decorate keepsake cookie dough ornaments to hang on the tree. Your family will treasure hanging these homemade ornaments (and admiring the artwork) year after year!6. Collect favorite cookie recipes from aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, brothers and sisters and bind all of the recipes together in a special family “cookie book”. You can decorate with family photos and/or stories about each recipe (and recipe contributor!).7. Schedule “official” family time so everyone can participate in baking traditional holiday sugar cookies in all shapes and sizes. Buy a variety of cookie-decorating supplies, put on your favorite holiday music, a bubbling pot of hot apple cider and let the creativity loose!8. Don’t have a lot of time? Don’t know what to buy that “hard to buy for” person in your life? Shop online for a “cookie a month” service that can deliver a variety of fresh cookies to someone’s door step each month. They’ll remember your thoughtfulness each time their monthly delivery arrives!9. Treat the cookie connoisseur in your life (and you!) to reserved seats at an upcoming cookie-decorating class. You’ll not only enjoy the time together but you’ll be sure to learn some new tricks you can use right away!10. Don’t feel like going out? Throw a personalized cookie-decorating class at your house! Invite your friends and neighbors to come over for a hands-on cookie decorating class in your own kitchen taught by a local, professional baker. You’ll love the camaraderie and sharing in an intimate (and comfortable) setting and guests get to take home all of their goodies!

11. Don’t forget the pets on your holiday list. Search the internet or your local pet store for special “doggie” cookies you can bake by scratch to give to your own pets or package in a small, airtight container with brightly colored ribbon to give to the other canine friends on your holiday gift list.12. Browse your favorite local bookstore for interesting, colorful, delightful cookie cookbooks. My personal favorite, of course, is Cookie Stories: Life Stories and the Cookies that Inspired Them (Falling Star Press, 2005). Wear your most comfortable holiday pajamas, turn up the holiday tunes and bake a “new” recipe from your cookbook (try decorated sugar cookies!). When they’ve cooled, wrap these goodies in festive, brightly-colored, holiday gift wrapping and ribbon.So there you have it. It’s possible to tap into a little bit of that “old-fashioned” holiday even on today’s 2006 fast-paced schedule. All you need are a few ideas, a little bit of creativity and of course, delicious holiday cookies.Happy Holidays!

Kathy Sutton is the co-author of Cookie Stories: Life Stories and the Cookies That Inspired Them (Falling Star Press, 2005). Kathy lives and works in Austin, Texas for Advanced Micro Devices. Cookie Stories is available at [web: cookiestories .com], web: amazon .com, and several local bookstores.