It's the most wonderful time of the year! In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to share a more personal post about our family’s favorite holiday traditions, along with some photos of how I decorated our house this year.
One of me and Keith's favorite Christmas traditions is visiting a local Christmas tree farm to get a live tree. We love walking thru the rows, taking our time to find a tree that's the perfect shape and height for our living room. We saw it down (or if I'm being honest Keith does 99% of the chopping, but my sawing cheers have to account for at least 1% of the effort!) To me, nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree in our home. Sometimes I’ll sneak over to our tree, squeeze a couple needles in my fingers and take a big whiff. The fresh scent instantly gets me in the Christmas spirit!
I am a HUGE homebody this time of year. Most days I’m getting cozy with PJ’s and slippers, soft blankets, and Hallmark Christmas movies (yes I know they are cheesy and predictable but I'm a sucker for a happy ending!) I also love baking homemade Christmas cookies for friends and family. My absolute favorites are Molasses Sugar Cookies. They are soft and chewy, and have a delicious spice to them that's unique from other sugary cookies. Our family has enjoyed these for years and they remind me of childhood traditions. I’ll include the recipe at the bottom of this post for anyone who wants to try them!
I also love spending time downtown Chicago during the holidays. I’m not necessarily a city girl (the suburbs and country are where I feel most at home), but during Christmas time, there’s something so magical about the city. Chicago is festively decorated with lights, bows and garland, and there’s a shimmering tree on every corner! My favorite traditions in the city are seeing the Nutcracker ballet, ice skating at Millennium Park under the Bean, and visiting the German Christmas Market to drink mulled wine and eat authentic chocolates.
However you choose to celebrate this season, I am wishing you peace. May you feel light and gratitude for all the blessings in your life, and among all the hustle and bustle, may you take time to slow down and be present. May you spread kindness and enjoy the company of friends and family. Merry Christmas my dear friends, I am thankful for each and every one of you!
Molasses Sugar Cookies Recipe
¾ cup Crisco 1 cup sugar
¼ cup Brer Rabbit Molasses 1 egg
2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger ½ teaspoon salt
Melt shortening in pan over low heat. Remove and cool. In a large bowl, combine the shortening, sugar, molasses and egg. Mix well and set aside.
Sift together all other dry ingredients. Add ½ to sugar mixture. When blended add remaining ½. Mix well and refrigerate until chilled.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in additional sugar, and place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until tops are cracked.
Helpful hint: I usually sprinkle sugar on top once cookies are out of the oven and are cooling.