Part of what makes this time of year so special are the traditions that come with celebrating the holidays. Some are more unique than others, and Julie, sales associate at our Plymouth store, has a Christmas tradition that ranks right up there!
In this post we’ll be sharing the inspiration behind her tradition, as well as some tips, and links to some of the recipes that she made (or will be making) this year.
A Cookie a Day – Christmas Tradition
1. How many different cookies do you make – over how many days?
25 different kinds to celebrate Christmas on the 25th.
2. When do you start?
The weekend after Thanksgiving!
3. How many years have you had this Christmas cookie baking tradition?
I’ve been baking Christmas cookies since I was a teenager. My mom wasn’t a baker, so if we wanted cookies I was the go-to.
Once married I hosted a neighborhood cookie exchange, which was a lot of fun. My husband loved to test all the different cookies. Every year I would try to be more creative and out-do my cookie from the previous year.
4. What inspired you to start the 25 in 25?
Eventually it became too hard to organize a time for everyone to get together (for a cookie exchange) so I just started doing doing a large variety on my own.
My inspiration really came from just wanting to enjoy the season with friends, and this was a good way to do it.
5. How do you decide which recipes to do – do they change each year?
Every member of my family has a favorite that I always make. Some are standard, like my brother’s favorite corn flake wreaths, while others are a little more time consuming (like my brother-in-law’s favorite – recipe link below).
But knowing how much they look forward to seeing their favorite on the Christmas platter makes it all worth it!
I used to buy Christmas cookie magazines at the grocery store checkout, and still do once in awhile, but Pinterest has really upped my game. I have a board dedicated to just Christmas cookies (and a 3-ring binder just for cookie recipes, too.) Every year I try a few new recipes to see if they make the cut.
6. What’s your favorite thing about the tradition?
Being able to do something for the people who are important to me. That’s what the holidays are about – family, and the true gift of being able to give.
7. What’s your least favorite thing, if there is?
The endless trips to the store for butter, flour, and of course finding the time to make them all. After working a full day its hard to work up the energy to come home and start baking.
I use the calendar to keep me on schedule. For example, today is Dec. 6 so I needed to have at least 6 different kinds made. Hurray – I have 10 done, so ahead of schedule!
8. What do you do with all of those cookies??!!!
I have really only been making this large amount for the past 10 years, but obviously storing them did become an issue. My husband was kind enough to get us an upright freezer for the basement, just for the occasion. We also have an extra fridge, so with two refrigerators and and the extra freezer I can store them all in sealed containers.
Who eats them?
Giving away: I bring a large portion of the cookies to work at Christmas time. I also provide trays for my family members so they can enjoy them with their families on Christmas Day.
Family tradition: Our Christmas tradition is that my husband and I get up early that morning, turn on all the trees, brew the coffee, and make a huge tray of cookies before waking up our now-grown children. We eat the cookies while we open our gifts together.
Kids and Community: In the past, I was a confirmation teacher and the kids needed to do so many hours of volunteer work for the community. I would have the whole group, which was typically 7-10 kids, over and have an ugly apron contest.
We would bake cookies and take them to local churches or nursing homes to help them provide treats where needed. These were some of my favorite years with these kids. To see how much they enjoyed the giving of their gifts was priceless. (The mess they left behind at my house was also unforgettable.)
9. Do people think you’re crazy? :-)
I’m sure people think its extreme, but its basically harmless. If it becomes no longer fun for me, I’ll switch my tradition. But for now I’m going strong with it.
I hope my kids will remember me doing this and it will make them smile.
10. Any suggestions for people who want to start a new Christmas tradition?
If you have a passion for something, try to make it into a tradition. It doesn’t have to be this extreme.
Maybe you have one recipe that every time you make it people comment on it. Just make that every year and give that to friends and family. It will make them feel special, and you’ll also feel good giving it.
Her current favorite recipe:
We asked Julie what her current favorite Christmas cookie recipe is, and we’ll be sharing it with you in our next blog post, so stick around!
(UPDATE: You can see the cookie recipe here.)