Last month, I asked how many autumn colors you’d collected in your treasure trove of fall adventures. With just a flip of the calendar page, it’s time to collect scents of evergreens and peppermint, tastes of chocolate covered cherries and gingerbread, and visions of twinkling lights and mistletoe.
How many holiday memories have you assimilated since the calendar flipped to December? Create new festivities to celebrate with the family, resurrect favorite traditions, and take part in some of the wild, but actual holidays below.
➤ Cookie Exchange Week – Celebrate this one with a cookie exchange party of family and friends or spend time in the kitchen baking batches of cookies to deliver to those you know and love. Invite others over for an afternoon of fellowship and fun, and be sure to tell them to bring a couple dozen of their favorite cookies to share. Provide resealable baggies for each person to collect cookies to take home.
Here’s a favorite one to include in the exchange or to bake for neighbors or friends. Soften one-half cup of unsalted butter to room temperature in a large mixing bowl. Cream the butter with one-half cup each of granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until well-combine. Add one egg and one teaspoon of vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together one cup of all-purpose flour one-half cup plus two tablespoons of cocoa powder, one teaspoon baking soda, and one-eighth teaspoon salt.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add in the dry ingredients slowly. Add one tablespoon milk an one and one-fourth cups white chocolate chips. Mix until just blended; dough will be thick. Place in a sealed plastic container and chill for a minimum of two hours. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator to sit for ten minutes on counter. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into balls using one and a half tablespoons of dough. (Dough is very sticky.) Place on cookie sheet an bake for eleven minutes. Let cool on cooling rack.
➤ National Hand Washing Awareness – Make a fun craft together to celebrate the day. Let each person trace and cut handprints from green bulletin board paper. Make ten green handprints for each evergreen tree. Glue the handprints onto a large sheet of drawing paper. Start with a brown paper stem at the bottom of the page.
Glue two handprints, upside-down, across the bottom of the page, just above the trunk, for the lower row of boughs. Glue down just the palm part of the handprint and leave the fingers unglued for three-dimensional effect. Glue three in place above the row of four, then two on the next row, and one at the top.
Glue colored pom poms on the handprints to decorate the tree, with a yellow one on top. Share the handprint tree and a bottle of handwash soap as a gift.
➤ Bathtub Party Day – Look for these books to read together as a family to celebrate the day. King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood, Billy the Bubble by Tia Batten, Walrus in the Bathtub by Deborah Underwood, The Tub People by Pam Conrad and The Tub People’s Christmas by Pam Conrad.
➤ Poinsettia Day – Think of someone who might not have company this Christmas and share a poinsettia plant with them. Go for a visit or invite them over for hot cocoa and send them home with a seasonal poinsettia to brighten their table.
➤ Look for An Evergreen Day – Go for lots of walks this season and search for evergreens. Look in the neighborhood, a nearby park, an hour’s drive away or a Christmas tree farm. Take in the aroma of the season with cedars and firs and spruces and pines. Take selfies in front of some of your favorites, and find a Charlie Brown tree to photo also.
Celebrate the beauty of the seasons with lights, sweet treats, evergreens, poinsettias, and manger scenes. Make the most of every day this month with family and make memories to treasure for a lifetime.
Statesboro native Julie Lavender is excited to celebrate the holidays with family thoughout the month of December. She is the author of "Strength for All Seasons: A Mom’s Devotional of Powerful Verses and Prayers and Children’s Bible Stories for Bedtime."