Christmas cookie decorating

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is cookie decorating. Growing up it was something that mom did with Benj and me one afternoon in December. While my brother would lose interest after about 30 minutes of intricate creations, I would stay with it to the end, even if by the end they were just one color of sugar left.

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It’s the tradition that mom and I have  protected the most, I think. The year I studied abroad, she waited to bake cookies until I got home. Now I don’t help my parents decorate the tree or wrap gifts together or even watch Christmas specials. But we ALWAYS do cookies together. [I just realized I’ve never actually made the dough on my own. That’s how embedded this tradition is.]

We decorate our cookies with sprinkles and things before we bake them, which I didn’t realize until adulthood that it’s somewhat nontraditional. But then they stack and store so much easier this way. Plus it’s how I grew up doing it, so of course I think it’s the best way. 😉

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The cookies taste a bit like shortbread – they’re buttery and crumbly and are perfect with that extra sugar sprinkled on top. We make so many that artistry is only valued for the first hour, but then it just becomes about how many we can crank out in one evening. This year, we did it twice, because you can never have enough Christmas cookies, right?

Please note some of our weird cookie cutters that have been adopted into Christmas cookies. The Christmas Goat and Christmas Duck are part of our Christmas cookie family. Don’t ask questions, I don’t know why. It’s been that way since I was a kid.

Another reason cookie decorating is one of my favorite Christmas traditions is the time it gives mom and I together. Whoever’s around may help for a tray or two, but all the men would rather not spend 3 hours hunched over baking sheets. And that’s just fine, because I love getting that time with mom. We laugh at each other’s weirder cookie creations, we catch up on work and life and family, and get some quality time that’s the perfect balance of focused and flexible.

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What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

all images copyright Teaspoon of Nose

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