Everyone laughs about how excited I get about Christmas, I talk about it all the time and look forward to it as soon as it ends. To me, Christmas has always been an important time of year because the day is tied to so many good memories with my family. As the years go by, my sibling and I have all grown up and moved away from home. It is such a special moment when everyone returns for this one day and works together to create a beautiful Christmas. This year was no exception; here is a little peek into the sweet memories of this year being home for the holidays.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This year I wanted to make the Christmas table special, interactive, (and of course a little sweeter.) For each table setting I made a special gingerbread cookie to set on the side of a mug. This cookie was so simple to make. I simply cut rounds out of gingerbread dough with a glass (just like my grammy used to do!) and before baking, I cut a rectangular slit on one side. The cookie bakes up with a nice notch to slip onto the edge of the mug. My boyfriend helped me pipe a simple dot design in red and green around the cookie and I piped 'Noel' in the center. I finished the cookies with red and green edible disco dust to add some festive sparkle.
I made a big pot of home made hot chocolate for everyone to fill their mugs with as we sat down for dinner. This hot chocolate was so easy to make. I simply warmed an equal amount of milk and cream in a pot ( you could use half & half) and added a splash of vanilla , dash of cinnamon, and whatever chocolate bars I could find in the house. The result was a rich and creamy special chocolaty drink for everyone to enjoy.
For the interactive element, I had a small present at each setting filled with a surprise. My sisters crushed candy canes and filled each present with the dust. After placing slips of paper with 'naughty' or 'nice' inside, the presents were wrapped with a green ribbon and placed at each table setting. As everyone opened their presents to pour the peppermint into their hot chocolate, they found out if they were naughty or nice this year, and the lucky one who opened a present reading 'nice' won a special gift certificate. In an ironic twist, I was the one who was nice haha, but in the spirit of Christmas I gave it to my youngest sister (after making her show off some Christmas dance moves of course).
I was too wrapped up (pun intended) in the excitement of Christmas to snap a picture of all of the cookies I made but I managed to get a picture of some of decorated cookie remnants on the plate. My mom and boyfriend helped me decorate sugar cookie and gingerbread trees, candy canes, snowflakes, and moose. My brother and mom's fiance taste tested before dinner to make sure they tasted as good as they looked!
My mom always told us that even if we no longer believed in Santa Claus, that we should at least believe in the magic of Christmas. The days of placing cookies and carrots out on Christmas Eve and waking up to half eaten cookies and bits of carrot strewn about the lawn are over; however, now that I am older I have learned to recognize a different sort of magic at Christmas. A magic that comes from decorating cookies with your family, laughing about the silly game at the dinner table, and watching your siblings get excited about making this Christmas more special than the last. This is the sort of magic that I look forward to all year round, and the sweet memories created during the 2011 holidays are what make me believe in and get excited for the magic of Christmas next year.
I hope you all created sweet memories of your own during the holidays this year and wish you a happy and healthy 2012!