Christmas Baking – WoC 2013

During tough economic times, creativity is your best friend.  Baked goods make great thoughtful presents!!

By Marion Algier – The War on Christmas verses the Spirit of Christmas Series at AskMarion – 19

“There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions. Giving something you made is one of the best gifts and reflections of yourself that you can give.” …Bill McKibben

Christmas Mice

Cookies are the heartbeat of Christmas baking. They are the quintessential treats that sweeten the holidays

Enjoy the treats of the holiday season without the hassle of baking them all. Invite family and friends to a cookie swap party — it’s easy, fun, and everyone will reap the sweet rewards!  Or host a baking party.

I love the Holiday season, the sights, the smells, the music, the parties… One of my favorite holiday memories from childhood are the baking parties my parents would host. Family friends would come over and bring their favorite cookie recipes (or already baked cookies) and we would spend hours baking, decorating, laughing, eating and making memories. Everyone left with full hearts, full bellies and full plates of cookies for themselves Santa.

Cookie Decorating Parties Tips

Gingerbread cookies

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Cookie decorating parties and Holiday Baking Parties are one of the things that I look forward to every year – just walking down the baking and seasonal aisles at the store sends my kids over the moon, their excitement is visible – shimmering in their eyes and around their bodies like fairy dust. There are so very many things to love about baking parties – the smells of sugar and cocoa and butter wafting through the air – the giggles and squeals when tongues are burnt due to impatience, and the sighs of pleasure as the warm goodies melt in mouths. I love hosting parties and get-togethers, but I know many hesitate to host holiday parties because they don’t know how to begin, what to do or because their house isn’t “guest ready” Y’all – I promise that the memories made, the echoing laughter, the full bellies and the joyous hearts will fill your guests eyes and hearts far more than a spotless house. I want to share with y’all my top 5 tips for hosting a successful Holiday Baking Party:

1. Let The Invitations Set The Theme and Tone

Invitations say so much about your party. They’re the introduction, the excitement builder to your event. You can print your own, create your own, or if you’re like me and have no crafty artsy skills whatsoever – you can order adorable ones complete with matching recipe cards.

I love to include recipe cards with my invitation and when I host these parties, I ask everyone to bring one recipe card for each person with their baked good recipe on it and the reason why this is their favorite holiday recipe, or their favorite memory involving this recipe.

 

2. Decorating

Don’t stress and spend hours cleaning and decorating your house. These are your friends, your family, some of your favorite people. Your house is the location – not the reason they’re there. Your house is probably already decorated for the holidays – just keep it as is and add to the occasion with your favorite holiday aprons, napkins, towels and dishes. If you feel the need to make it extra special – hang candy canes in random places – place dishes of holiday candies and cookie toppings in pretty dishes around the areas of the house where your guests will be.  Visit your local dollar store and buy Santa Hats, Menorahs, Elf Ears and other holiday decorations and sprinkle them randomly throughout the house. Add a Santa hat to your mailbox, put Christmas Ornaments in a funky dish on your bathroom counter. You’ve more than likely already got mismatched, but wonderful containers in your pantry, cabinets and garage. Don’t worry about perfection – it’s totally overrated.

3. Set The Mood

Your house is already going to smell amazing, due to the baked goods and sweets filling it – so no need for candles or other scented ambiance. If you have any sort of wireless device that you can hook up to speakers – Pandora has a virtually unlimited supply of Christmas Stations ranging from classics, oldies, kids, chipmunks, rockin’, religious etc…

4. Relax and Have Fun

This may sound crazy, and not like a tip at all, but the most important thing you can do as the host/hostess is to be present at your gathering. RELAX – slow down – breathe – have fun – go with the flow. This is a baking/decorating party: it’s okay to spend a bunch of time in the kitchen and around the table, but make sure you’re having as much fun as your guests. Let them help you. When you allow others to help, you strengthen the bond between you – I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. Everyone knows that part of baking is preparation – baking – and then cleaning… let your guests, adults and kids alike draw assignments from a bowl – everyone is included, it’s a surprise and it helps you. Your guests want to help you, let them. This is the hardest hostess lesson I’ve ever learned, but it’s been one that’s made one of the biggest impacts on me.

5. The Takeaway

Everyone is going to leave with baked goods, new recipes, amazing memories and strengthened friendships, but I suggest taking it just a step farther. For a very minimal cost you can create a memory station and provide one takeaway per guest – my favorites:

  • a baking apron for each guest with fabric markers for everyone to write their favorite memory of the day, draw pictures or just sign their name
  • a holiday themed kitchen towel with fabric markers that guests can share their favorite holiday quotes on
  • Have each guest write down their top 3 holiday songs, make a CD and send one home with each guest (oh mix tapes – how I miss thee)

The Dresden Giant Stollen is One of the Most Interesting Baking Feats of the Christmas Season!!

Raw Video: Germans Parade Giant Christmas Cake – Assoc. Press/youtube

Video:  Christmas Specialties – how to make Stollen | euromaxx


Cynthia Brozek – Dresden Stollen Maiden 2012/2013

More than 80 bakers and pastry chefs of the Trade Protection Society of Dresden Stollen celebrate the city’s most famous cake – the Christmas stollen.

The bakers took five hours to work on this treat which was unveiled at the city’s Striezelmarkt on December 8th, one of Germany’s oldest documented Christmas markets. It was highlighted on Fox News last weekend.

Happy baking. Baking homemade goodies and putting them in tins or cellophane can be a great gift… something from the heart without bankrupting you!!

Baking Jars

Or putting together baking jars with the dry ingredients for Christmas Cookies or Brownies along with the recipe makes great gifts!

christmas_cookie_party_0ChristmasCookieParty

Related:

The Best Christmas Gifts – WoC 2013

Remembering Military and Veterans at Christmastime – W0C 2013

American Traditions – WoC 2013

Still Think There Is No War on Christmas – WoC 2013

In Defense of the Truth and Megyn Kelly – WoC 2013

Carolling… or Caroling and Christmas Music – WoC 2013

Adopt a Pet This Christmas… Or Give Someone a New Forever Friend – WoC 2013

Best Christmas Season Movie Classics – WoC 2013

Santa Photos… Often Yesterday’s Oooops Are Tomorrow’s Treasures! – WoC 2013

Christmas Lights – WoC 2013

Nativity Scenes and Glories – The Reason For the Season – WoC 2013

European Markets or Christkindlmarkts Capture the Christmas Spirit – WoC 2013

St. Nickolas Day – WoC 2013

Hanukkah… The Jewish Festival of Lights – WoC 2013

God Rest Ye Merry Merchants – Christmas: An American Holiday and Tradition to Love and Preserve – WoC 2013

Where Does the War on Christmas Come From? A Worthwhile Read – WoC 2013

The War on Christmas verses the Spirit of Christmas Series 2013 at AskMarion – WoC 2013

Advent – The Season of Anticipation and Hope – WoC 2013

2013 Official Christmas Card Only Features the Four-Legged Obamas

Sending Holiday Season Regards to our Conservative Warriors

ANOTHER FAILED IDEA: Woman gets laughed at after bringing up Obamacare at Thanksgiving…

The Twelve Days of ObamaCare

Huckabee’s ’12 Days Of ObamaCare’

Disney scores big with biblical values

The Thanksgiving Illusion

Obama Thanksgiving and Christmas Disgrace

Keeping Pets Safe for the Holidays: The “Not So Safe” or No-No Pet Food List

Sarah Palin on Politics and Religion • 11/10/13 With Susan Page

The Cross – Billy Graham’s Message To America

Citizenship and Church Membership

There are some great books out for Christmas this year: ‘Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas’ (Kindle), The Romney Family Table: Sharing Home-Cooked Recipes & Favorite Traditions (Kindle) and Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather’s Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most (Kindle) Plus: Losing Our Religion(Kindle) by atheist S. E. Cupp

MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless us all, each and every one!

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
This entry was posted in Entertainment, Family and Friends, Food and drink, Fun, Fun and Happiness, Holidays, Joy, Religion and Faith, Spirituality, Tradition. Bookmark the permalink.

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