Children

The Very Best Christmas Cookie Tip

Want to know the very best Christmas cookie tip you’ll never read in a recipe? I’ll share it with you. But first I have to tell you how I learned it.

I had a Pinterest mindset before Pinterest existed. I thought the holidays were made perfect if everything I touched looked perfect: a tree dripping with ornaments, presents wrapped meticulously, and suitable Christmas carols playing on the stereo cassette player.

(FYI, Blue Christmas is the sole resident of my unsuitable carol category. Blue Christmas is a travesty among Christmas songs. Sorry, Elvis.)

And of course, I wanted my Christmas cookies to be picture perfect too. I wanted it so much I usually made them after the kids had gone to bed.

The Problem With Kids & Cookies

Kids rarely have any appreciable artistic ability and mine weren’t the exception. And, as everyone knows, Christmas cookies are an artistic endeavor. Furthermore, kids make a mess just walking through a kitchen, let alone touching anything in it. Let them bake cookies? Never!

(Check out this post to read about The Mother Of All Messes I’ve ever encountered.)

So I had cute cookies (I mean, the cutest) and a clean kitchen. But I missed out on making those special holiday memories in the kitchen with them when they were young. Worst of all, they missed out on making those memories.

The Very Best Christmas Cookie Tip

There’s not a parent of adult children alive who doesn’t have regrets. Keeping my kids out of the kitchen is one of mine. Now that my children have children of their own, I realize the big mistake I made.

So here’s the very best Christmas cookie tip of all:

Remember, you’re not making cookies, you’re making memories. The process is so much more important than the product.

Because the truth is, 25 years later, no one really remembers pretty cookies (except me. So pretty.) When my kids talk about Christmases past, they recall things we did together: going to candle-light services on Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 before opening gifts, and playing with the nativity set. (It was plastic so they could play with it.)

Learning From My Mistake

If I could go back to when my kiddos were little, I’d put aprons on us all and make cookies with them. I wouldn’t stress about flour on the floor or frosting smears on chairs. And I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at gingerbread men that looked like accident victims.I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at gingerbread men that looked like accident victims. Click To Tweet

Of course, it’s impossible to go back. So I’m going forward – older and wiser. Next week I’ll be making Christmas cookies with my granddaughter, Addy. However, Blue Christmas will still be loathed when it plays on the Holly music channel. Some things will never change.

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  • Katie Brooks Tabor

    I love this! One of my favorite memories is making a huge mess decorating cookies with my (much younger) sisters. I can’t wait to make those same memories with my sons when they are a little older 🙂

  • Susannah Fields O’Brien

    So true! The process is more important! The result is pretty good, too 😉

  • Love this so much!! It’s totally spot on! I think about this a lot especially when doing crafts with my toddler. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be memorable. Great reminder!

  • Natalie Popi

    Such a great read. It’s so true though- as much as I love everything to be Pinterest-worthy, the most memorable and sentimental things are often far from that.

  • Katie

    This made me smile. My mother baked cookies with (the five of) us every year – and whichever cousins, neighbor-kids and school friends were over. It was always a monumental mess, but so much fun! 25 years later, the ones who joined us for cookie baking still remind me of it and tell me they’re doing the same thing with their own kids. It was also a treat since she didn’t generally let us do a lot of kitchen stuff other than cleaning up, and it has left us all with great cookie-decorating skills….and memories. When we were a little older, we’d try to out-do each other, making each other laugh by decorating cookies to be silly or inappropriate (and then just eat the evidence before my mother asked what was wrong with us. Ha!) It’s also interesting to note that there were always enough leftovers that she could do a few nicely herself after we were done, and there were always the ones we decorated saved for us, then the nice ones to put out at parties and give as gifts. At 5th grade and up, myself and my Irish twin sister knew enough to help her do the nice ones like she wanted. When we pitch in nowadays, she gets all her Pintrest-perfect cookies without lifting a finger!