The holiday season seems to go hand in hand with family traditions and memories. My children seemed to have picked up our sentimentality and while they are always up for a new adventure, under no terms do they want their familiar customs modified. Here are a few of the regular holiday activities we like to do:
- Bake cookies. My kids all like to help out in the kitchen. They love the idea of baking goods and giving them as gifts. Our favorite Christmas baking is when we have the opportunity to get together with good friends and make sun-buckles. This a a nod from some of my friends Scandinavian heritage. They are all equipped with cookie tins that have been passed down from generation to generation. The recipe is rather simple:
1 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp almond extract
Some tips I remember are to make sure the butter is room temperature so it is easier to cream the ingredients together and that is is easier to work with chilled dough. The lengthy part of the process is spreading the dough as thin as humanly possible in the cookie tin. For some reason, I find this process incredibly calming. It probably helps that I am surrounded by good friends and we are all doing this together. The cookie tins are then placed on a baking sheet and put in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Once the edges just start to brown, it’s time to take them out. My friend Lynn is the expert on this . . but if I remember correctly I think they cook for a little over ten minutes. Once cooled, you gently tap these delicious shortbread style cookies out of the tins and repeat the process. We make many, many batches and there are loads for everyone to take home. You can eat them as it or fill them with fresh whipped cream and whatever else. Breaking some of them is inevitable . . but our kids don’t seem to mind sampling those!
- Making a day of selecting and cutting down our Christmas tree. It sees a little more of a challenge these days to get everyone’s schedule together to set a day aside to pick our Christmas tree, but we still manage to fit it in. We make an adventure of finding the “perfect” tree. Since we have a three year old and five year old weighing in on this decision, it doesn’t necessarily mean the tree I would have picked out but they just love scouting them out and convincing the rest of us why their chosen tree is the greatest. The kids also help cut it down and drag it to where it needs to go.
- Christmas Eve Eve Sliding Party. My husband started this tradition quite by accident. On a particularly snowy December 23rd, we brought the girls sliding at night. We brought lanterns and miner’s lights and having it dark seemed to add nicely to the adventure. It was a great evening and we decided we should do this every year. Plus it happened to be “Christmas Eve Eve” so it was a great way to add to the holiday season and get to see family and friends at a kid-friendly venue. This year will be the fifth annual sliding party and it seems to be going strong!
There are so many more, but I just wanted to share a few! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite holiday traditions. Please feel free to write them down in the comment section below.