Nothing beats the enticing aroma of homemade Christmas cookies fresh from the oven. I remember when I was a young child, my mother would spend countless hours in our tiny kitchen preparing some of the most wonderful Christmas cookies known to man. She would arrange them neatly in a decorative tin or on a holiday plate and present them to friends and neighbors as Christmas gifts. As I got to be a little bit older I would sometimes deliver the cookies for her, and I’ll never forget that warm feeling I would get when the recipient would open the door, their face glowing with anticipation of the exquisite flavor these marvelous cookies had, and take the gift from me.
Throughout the years, I would stand impatiently beside my mother as she shaped these flavorful pieces of homemade art, and I would beg her for “just one more taste”. Although I finally talked mom out of some of her delicious recipes and tried my own hand at creating these treasured little treats, I have never quite mastered the ability to deliver such amazing works of edible art.
The tradition of making Christmas cookies can be traced all the way back to medieval Europe when biscuits were created with the use of ingredients like cinnamon, ginger, almonds and dried fruits. By the early 17th century, the Dutch had introduced Christmas cookies to the United States. From as early as the 1930’s children in the United States and Canada have offered these delicate holiday treats as gifts for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. While there is a wide variety of family recipes and unique cookie designs that have become popular over the years, the most common seem to be cookies that are either round or shaped like candy canes, Christmas trees, and holly leaves.
These days, as our lives have become more fast paced and our lifestyles have changed so significantly, we tend to purchase simple cookie mixes, prepared cookie doughs and ready to eat treats in place of preparing our favorite cookie recipes from scratch. In my own personal opinion, regardless of the type of cookies you choose to purchase, Christmas cookies are still a favorite gift to give during the holiday season.
Although nothing compares to the mouth watering scents and wonderful family memories that are created when homemade Christmas cookies are being prepared, there are a number of companies that offer gift baskets in order to help carry on the tradition of gifting these much loved Christmas treats. Many of these commercially prepared gift baskets offer an abundance of gourmet cookies, while others include special cookie doughs or a collection of ingredients to create your own Christmas cookies.
Unique homemade gifts can be created with these magnificent treats as well. While some people still give tins and decorative containers filled with holiday cookies, others choose to create cookie sculptures and more decorative presentations. Another fun gift idea is to arrange the ingredients used to make your favorite cookie recipe inside a clear jar and tie a small copy of the preparation instructions to the rim.
What are your favorite Christmas cookie recipes? Do you have unique ideas for giving Christmas cookies as gifts during the holiday season? Let us know- we would love to hear from you!
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