Guest Post: Traditions by Alyce

Have you met the amazing Alyce?  I remember when I first found Alyce’s blog and I  loved how her sidebar says “Alyce (rhymes with peace)… I think of that whenever  I stop by her blog and it makes me smile.  🙂



Alyce and her family

The Christmas tradition that stands out the most in my memory from childhood is that of retrieving boxes of ornaments from the attic and decorating the house.  But the first thing that my mom would do prior to decorating was reach into our cabinet and pull out all of our holiday records and stack them up next to the record player.  There was a lot of Christmas music there, and I know that we did listen to most of the records, but the only one that I remember; the one that got the most play time, was the Elvis Christmas album.  I have so many good memories of dancing around the house and putting up decorations with Elvis singing in the background.

Prepping the tree

During those first few years of marriage the memories of Christmases blur together, in part because we always celebrated at our parents’ houses.  When we had our kids, however, we wanted to create our own family traditions and I couldn’t resist incorporating Elvis Christmas tunes into our holiday.  So now, each Christmas when my kids get ready to decorate the tree they are accompanied by “Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me” and “If Every Day Was Like Christmas,” among others.  I will be curious to see if those songs will bring back nostalgic memories for them someday when they are older, or if they just melt into the background of Christmas memories.  If there’s one thing I know it’s that nostalgia is different for everyone, and the best we can do is create a lot of fun memories and then wait to see which ones are treasured most by those we love.

I know that making Christmas cookies is a family tradition for many people, but it was not something I remember doing often when I was growing up, so I was excited to make it into a yearly event with my kids.  Every year, at some point during the two-week break from school I get out the cookie press and make dozens of butter cookies.  Most years I buy the boys each a tube of frosting and a large bag of mini-M&Ms to decorate a plate of their own cookies.  Last year though, I discovered that the butter cookies taste even better (at least to me)  if they are made with colored sugar sprinkles  instead of being slathered with frosting and piled high with candy.

Below is the recipe that I like the best for butter cookies (which this recipe calls shortbread cookies).  I think calling them butter cookies makes more sense; after all they are made with a pound of butter!

Shortbread Cookies

1 lb butter
1 cup sifted icing sugar
3 cups sifted flour
½ cup cornstarch

Cream butter, add sugar & gradually add flour & cornstarch sifted together. Whip mixture until fluffy & mixture breaks or looks curdled. Drop by teaspoons or put through cookie press onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 300F until light golden brown (about 20 minutes).

Check out Alyce At Home With Books.

36 thoughts on “Guest Post: Traditions by Alyce

  1. Hi Alyce.

    It was fun to stalk you and hear about your Christmas traditions.

    I am sure those cookies should be called “short of bread cakes” ;D

  2. Those sounds really yummy, just gonna go translate that second ingredient and I am good to go 🙂 Oh and after I have done that I will google it, lol I am useless knowing what things are in any language

    1. I hadn’t thought about the language difference. It’s powdered sugar – or the sugar you would normally make frosting with. The very first time I made frosting (in high school with a girl friend) neither one of us knew what it was – since it was listed as “confectioner’s sugar” on the recipe. We used granulated sugar and it was terrible!

  3. I’m not much of a baker, I just made some Macadamia chocolate chip cookies the other day and while they were ok, I just get intimidated by baking. These sound really easy though and something I could do. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your family traditions with us.

    1. This is the easiest cookie press recipe I have. Others I have tried call for refrigerated dough, and then I feel like I have to wrestle with the press to get them out.

  4. First I love this blog — second, I am definitely making your butter cookies, Alyce, and Elvis was a part of my household growing up, so that’s a no brainer for me, too 🙂 I loved this post!

  5. Great family photo. The cookie recipe sounds delish too. We have favorite cookie recipes and music. I love the Amy Grant Christmas album. Nice post, Alyce. Merry Christmas 🙂

    1. Merry Christmas to you too! 🙂 I don’t know if I’ve heard the Amy Grant Christmas album, but my family listened to a lot of her other music when I was growing up.

  6. I loved this post and the family pic made me smile and smile — especially with the furbabies cuddled up with y’all! It put me in the mood for Christmas.

    1. Thanks! That photo is from last year, and it took us so many tries to get one good enough to share. The cats and the dogs kept scrambling and the kids (and my husband) kept closing their eyes. We finally settled on the one where the dog was the only one not facing the camera.

  7. Thanks! That photo is from last year, and it took us so many tries to get one good enough to share. The cats and the dogs kept scrambling and the kids (and my husband) kept closing their eyes. We finally settled on the one where the dog was the only one not facing the camera.

  8. I love reading about Christmas traditions. I don’t remember any real traditions from when I was a child, other than opening one gift on Christmas Eve and decorating the tree together. But my husband and I have already started traditions with The Girl and she makes sure they’re carried out each year. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your traditions and your photos!

    1. I think making traditions for our kids is one of the best things about Christmas. We’re going to take the kids to see Santa tomorrow, and they just reminded me about making cookies for him on Christmas Eve. (They didn’t know I was typing about Christmas on here, but it’s December so it’s what they talk about pretty much all the time.)

  9. I so loved the family pictures and the traditions! This is what is so wonderful about the holidays and family! I am going to make those cookies!!

  10. Thank you for sharing your wonderful Christmas memories. We used to love to stack up those Christmas albums and play them on the big console stereo while we decorated too. I’m sure your children will have fond memories of these things in the future.

  11. Thank you for the recipe Alyce. I visited your blog…lots of helpful information and a nice site design too.
    In our house, along with the annual attic trek, we had Andy Williams, not Elvis. Not nearly as cool, but still sticks in my head every year, especially “Go tell it on the mountain…” 🙂

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