Every year I set aside time for the children and I to do some Christmas baking. Sometimes that means that another activity must fall to the wayside. We all enjoy our Christmas cookies far too much to skip this family tradition. It has brought us joy for many years. Not to mention all of the lovely memories we've made. So, when I announced that today was the day for Christmas baking, the children were beyond thrilled. Our daughter even donned her best dress just for the occasion!
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Who doesn't love baking Christmas cookies? I know we sure do! Children cooking in the kitchen can be quite the experience...let me tell you! It isn't for the faint of heart or for those wishing to keep their kitchen clean.
Our kids wanted to make festive chocolate chip cookies. How do you make chocolate chip cookies festive? You make them with red, and green chocolate chips. Voila! Festive Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Then the children decided that the chocolate chip cookies still weren't quite festive enough. So, they crushed candy canes and sprinkled them on top of the cookies just before they went into the oven.
I must say, the Christmas cookies were scrumptious. These kids really know how to cook!
I will not remember the mess. I will not remember the dirty dishes. I will not remember my irritation when someone didn't follow directions. So, how do we make memories full of joy?
- Be Present - Let go of all that stuff in your head. You know what I'm talking about. The mental commentary about all of the THINGS you need to get done. Take this time to let that other stuff go and be there with your children. Trust me, it's worth it.
- Embrace the Mess - Kids are Messy and your kitchen is going to be a disaster. There. Now go enjoy your time with your children knowing that there will be flour and sugar on every surface within 10 feet of your little ones. It's OK! Seriously, the experience, love, and joy makes the messes worth it. Embrace the Mess!
- Watch the Joy Unfold - Observe the little things: the smells, the smiles, and the excitement. There is joy to be found in all of the little things.
What will I Remember?
I will remember the way my daughter's pigtail braids fell against her neck as we mixed the cookie dough. The different shades of brown and blonde interwoven with the light from the kitchen window. A sweet memory that I'll carry with me always.
I will remember the joy and bliss on my children's faces as they devoured the first Christmas cookie dough left behind on the beaters. This simple childhood treat should be enjoyed by all! Seriously, when was the last time you enjoyed the Christmas cookie dough remnants? If it's been a while, then you have my full permission to whip up a batch of cookies and relive you're childhood!
I will remember the smells of vanilla and chocolate drifting through the air as we sat around the kitchen table singing Christmas carols and waiting for the cookies to come out of the oven. The children's voices growing louder for the parts they knew best and then drifting to a mumble for the phrases they were unsure of, yet all the while light filled their eyes and smiles lit their faces.
It is my hope that you find time and space this holiday season for baking with your children, being present in the moment, and making memories that last.