I am one of those individuals who carries on the traditions that were set upon me as a child. The ornaments on my tree were the ones my mother made when I was a child so I didn’t cut myself on the glass ones that she had (in an interesting twist of life, when I moved out, as I began a search of wooden ornaments similar to the ones my mother had on her tree, she told me she was going to split them up between my sister and I. My sister doesn’t have the best track record of keeping things so I called her and told her she never had to get me anything for Christmas ever again if I could have all the ornaments…. she said sure, she didn’t want them [this still puzzles me to this day, but good for me!], added with some that I made, or some that just naturally fit with my theme… I like think that my Christmas tree’s theme would be an old fashioned as the painted ornaments have homes, churches, dogs, rocking chairs, Wise Men, the 3 Bears, Raggedy Ann & Andy, ice skaters, carolers, snowmen and Santas. Mixed in are ornaments from my youth… ones with my names on them, ornaments given to me by my maternal grandmother, a cherished one from fifth grade where my room mothers made us ornaments with our names on it along with the bands that were popular in 1983 (Van Halen, The Who, Billy Joel, Pat Benetar, Journey, Def Leppard and Quiet Riot), some NY Giants ornaments, a few NY Yankees, and added in recent years are ornaments reflecting the birth of my children (the infamous “baby’s first Christmas”… my daughter has 3, my son just 1, can you tell who came first???) and ornaments they have made in school or purchased for me as gifts.
My husband dislikes my tree… or at least he mocks me all the time stating that there are too many ornaments on it. I think it’s just the right amount as I don’t lessen the ornaments on the tree, and I have branches with nothing on it. See for yourself.
And the ornament that I always have on the tree first and take off last… poor Fido. As a little girl I always felt sorry for poor Fido being stuck in his doghouse on Christmas. So to make him feel special I started having his as the ornament on the tree the longest… and the tradition continues…. sometimes I envy Fido in his doghouse… filled with peace and quiet.
Another tradition in my house is baking Christmas cookies. As a mother with a full time job, my mother helps me out by baking the Peanut Blossoms (peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kisses on top) and Russian Tea Cakes (aka Snowballs) with my daughter while I work. I get to do the fun ones, the cut out cookies. I use to get quite extravagant with my decorating – and use to even use my mom’s gingerbread boy to make NFL players…. the official Matt Bahr cookie was made for several years… One of these days I really need to ask her for that cut out… I haven’t found one like it when I’m out and about.
The problem with some recipes though is that they don’t always pass the test of time. I think they change the way they make items, honestly, so where a recipe was made perfectly 20 years ago, doesn’t necessarily get the same consistency now. So finding a good sugar recipe was my task.
First I tried using the Pilsbury Sugar Cookie dough and just cut out my cookies, these were good, but at times very frustrating. For a few years I made these and then made my Great Grandmother’s Drop Sugar Cookie recipe which had sour cream in it.
Which leads me to the recipe I discovered on Taste of Home last year when I thought… maybe I should see if a cut out sugar cookie recipe exists with sour cream in it. It does. And they are WONDERFUL. They stay nice and moist and the icing recipe with it is what I used and is incredible (I don’t even add mint flavoring to the green or banana flavoring to the yellow). I split the recipe in half as last year I had a ton leftover and felt guilty wasting so much.
Above are some of my children’s masterpieces (2 of which have disappeared since this picture was taken 10 minutes ago). Here is the recipe: Sour Cream Sugar Cookies, if you try it I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
For all who celebrate – have a very Merry Christmas! If you don’t, enjoy the peace and quiet and hope you can still seize the day to spend it with someone you love!