The most wonderful time of year consists of family and friends but most importantly, food. Whether it be cooking feasts, baking and decorating cookies, or staying up late prepping multiple Christmas family meals, the end of the year provides numerous opportunities to gather, give and share precious moments and experiences with those you love.
Throughout my childhood, I would spend time baking chocolate chip cookies with Mom while decorating homemade sugar cookies to accompany the glass of milk waiting for Santa. We were constantly in the kitchen, preparing main courses and side dishes we would later share with the family as a whole. It was during these times that I learned of the traditions I would be raised to continue later in life.
The duration of Christmas, for me, always consists of many family meals including turkey and ham, sweet and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and buttered rolls, with pies and cookies for dessert. The meal prep for these feasts is both chaotic and slightly overwhelming, yet fulfilling and fun, getting to spend time in the kitchen with my grandma and mom, and sometimes varying aunts, too. Cooking provides moments of quality time spent with one another while also giving me the opportunity to do what I loved most.
In my teenage years, I was able to become more involved within my family’s holiday traditions; helping in the kitchen, watching the younger kids and even cooking entire dishes myself. I began to see the impacts of these different traditions and how they brought everyone together. I would sit at the dining room table decorating gingerbread houses with my younger cousins, laughing at the lack of icing on the house compared to how much icing they managed to get on their faces.
Getting to sit in the kitchen, listening to my grandma retell stories of her childhood, and how they had to scrape up their extra money to buy the “good food” for Christmas. Everyone sitting at the table, praying over our meal, while afterwards we would talk about those no longer with us and the importance of their lives and the
As I grew up and eventually moved out and started a family of my own, I began to see myself continuing those traditions as well as making some of my own along the way. I bake cookies with my daughter while my pestering husband refuses to leave the kitchen, and I hear my mother, now a grandmother, tell my own daughter about her life growing up. These traditions, based around the idea and common love for food, have allowed our family to remain close and bonded throughout the holidays and beyond.
If you are unsure about how you can spend time with your family this Christmas, here are some fun options: hunt down an old family recipe to recreate and even try to make your own, build a gingerbread house with your children, have a cookie-decorating competition among family members and have the children judge or bake cookies for Santa, even if your children have outgrown the tale.
This holiday season, take the time to bond with those you love, creating fond memories and traditions that will last a lifetime. Whether it be through cooking together in the kitchen or solely eating the food already prepared together, pursue that quality time and cherish these small moments. One of the biggest reasons for the season is the ability to get together with family and friends, enjoying a good meal while celebrating the happiest time of the year with one another.
Christmas Butter Cookies
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Add egg, milk and vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients.
5. Roll out dough to 1/8” thick, 1/3 at a time, refrigerating the rest.
6. Cut into fun shapes and place on greased baking sheets.
7. Bake 5-8 minutes at 400 degrees.
8. Make frosting or use whatever you want, even no frosting. Seriously, you can just wing it—that’s what we always did.
9. Sprinkle with colored sugar and sprinkles. Then let cool!