A Grateful Heart: Christmas cookies and other traditions

Decorating cookies at Shannon’s is serious business. Sprinkles, seven
frosting colors, mini-marshmallows, red hots, spice drops, coconut,
colored sugar (my fav!), M&Ms and mini-chocolate chips serious.

Although I’m admittedly enamored with the glitter and twinkle of Christmas decor (see “Decking the Halls” evidence here), one of my very favorite things about Christmas is continuing tradition. When I was little that meant chocolate covered cherries from my dad, calendars and PJs from my mom, watching my grandma bake up a storm, and eagerly awaiting what Santa would bring. In my grown-up-ness, I’ve enjoyed creating and taking part in new traditions… Christmas waffles at our house (a to-die-for recipe here), Christmas eve-eve celebrations at the Pogacar’s, White Elephant extravaganzas, baking pumpkin-pear and pineapple-banana-nut bread (recipes here and here), and decorating Christmas cookies with three generations of Ledford family and friends.

What makes these traditions meaningful to me is sharing joy, swapping stories and remembering that beyond the tinsel and the presents and the twinkle lights, Christmas is about love. (And cookies.) Ha!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?


My best friend Shannon crafts sugar cookies every Christmas and then invites friends and family over to decorate. This year, I got to help with the baking part. We made 9 batches total with one dud.


The “dud” batch turned out to be a blessing because it gave Danielle (Shan’s sister) ugly cookies to eat so she wouldn’t “accidentally” break the good ones so she could eat them.


I used Shannon’s “secret” family recipes for cookies and frosting as favors for our wedding along with airplane and helicopter cookie cutters. (Sadly, no helicopters made it in this year’s baking.)


Glorious! Shan is a bit of a task-master about cookie decorating and has a reputation for giving people the what-for if they produce ugly cookies. This includes children, by the way. (And yes, I understand that by disclosing this fact, I may be dis-invited next year.)


In light of the prettiness pressure, our decorators really stepped up their games this year. I nominated Jasmine’s jalapeno as the cutest cookie of the day.


Shannon and I favor the Red Hots like all people with good taste.


The giant snow flake was my contribution to the baking this year. Beautiful but a pain to frost!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.