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. 🙂
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.
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!
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).