This really is my favorite time of year. The countdown to Christmas! The kids playing in the snow. The Christmas music that has been on rotation in my house for the past two weeks (ok...maybe longer, but who's counting..maybe my husband is). I know this time of year can get super hectic sometimes ...but I still love it. The thing I would like to know is ... where did November go!?! I felt like I batted my eyelashes and it was gone! I'm still trying to grasp that we are almost through the first half of December! My daughter had her first of two Nutcracker performances this past weekend and she has another this coming Sunday. Her first solo as boy doll in the party scene. Nutcracker has become so much a part of the holiday season for us, partly because I remember playing the Tchaikovsky album over and over again as a little girl and partly because my daughter has been involved with the beautiful production her dance school puts on each year.
Thinking back on November that seems so far away yet so close, Thanksgiving break was so nice but maybe a little too long (thanks to a little snowfall). Either way it was a wonderful weekend full of family time with no activities to rush to and no obligations to uphold. A quiet weekend to spend with family and friends is always good for the soul. And even though the break was a little extended I seem to be pretty ahead of the game. My Christmas cards were sent the first week of December, almost all the gifts are wrapped (besides a few stragglers that haven't been shipped yet) and my husband and I successfully decorated the house! Ok, I promise I will stop rambling (for now...)
The kids and I always bake Christmas cookies... because you know, its a cookie time of year. But this year, both my daughter and son decided as we were walking through A.C. Moore (which I am so sad to say is closing) that they were going to bake cookies for ALL of their teachers. Not just the tin we always give to our favorite Elementary School bus driver, but EVERYONE. That means 5 middle school teachers, 3 elementary school teachers assistants, 1 elementary school teacher, a bus driver (and a partridge in a pear tree). AAAHH! So instead of baking one type of Santa cookie this year, we need to bake multiple types of cookies. I don't know what I am more afraid of, the fact that my kitchen is going to look like a sugar factory chemistry lab, or the fact that we are going to bake too many cookies and have a myriad left over just sitting in my kitchen tempting me everyday.
On the way home from A.C. Moore we were talking about all the cookies from past years that we have baked. Some a great success, some fun but way to much work and will never happen again and others that we thought we would like but turned out to not be a favorite (or what my husband likes to call a "repeat"). After much talking and thinking on everyones part, these were some of the ones that were decided on. My sons favorite, Peanut Butter Crinkles. Two of my daughters favorites (because there are too many to list), Lemon Ricotta Cookies with festive Christmas sprinkles and Peanut Butter Blossoms.
My contribution to the cookie list was to make Almond Shortbread Thumbprints with Peach and Strawberry Jam. Then, as I was scrolling through Instagram I saw this recipe for Chocolate Espresso Crinkles....yes please!!! So here we are...five cookie batters, actual four because two of them are peanut butte based..yay! We have declared that this Friday night is baking night. I am going to order pizzas and my kitchen is going to be filled with sugar, flour and lots of laughter. I may not be looking forward to the clean up but I am looking forward to keeping our Christmas Cookie baking tradition alive and making memories to last a lifetime.
All of the recipes above are super simple to make with not many steps to follow and there is a job for everyone involved...which is my favorite part!
As this season rushes by us, I wanted to take a minute and wish you all a beautiful holiday season, celebrating with friends and family and whoever you hold dear. It is truly a season about giving and hoping. A season for celebrating life, and thanking those who are always there no matter the circumstance. A time for reflecting back yet looking forward.
I wish you all joy in your life and peace in your hearts this holiday season.