Helloooooo friends! Happiest of holiday seasons to YOU!!  In the blink of an eye, Halloween whizzed past us, Thanksgiving went by in a flash, and now the most wonderful time of the year is gently upon us. I have to admit, it took me a hot minute to get into the Christmas spirit this year, which is weird since I’m one of those people that the day after Christmas says, ‘Only 364 days until next Christmas!!!!’ But this year, the transition has been a bit slower for me. I just moved again, (yes, moving is officially my new hobby), got back from a wonderful trip to Colorado where I got to visit one of my dearest friends and her adorable family, and I just started at a new job. So things have been a bit of a whirlwind, and the Christmas season just showed up like a last minute dinner guest, like, Oh! I completely forgot you were coming over! However, we cannot slow down time, and here we are, just a mere 2 1/2 weeks away from the holiday! I absolutely love seeing my neighbor’s houses all lit up, seeing the hard work that they’ve put into hanging those tangled lights, up on the ladder, hammering those nails in, all for the pure joy of it. No matter what is going on in the world, especially right now, it is so magical and peaceful to drive down the road and see the time and effort people have put into lighting up the streets in such a homemade way. I love driving past and seeing holiday decor and Christmas trees through front windows. It’s one of those special little things.

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Seeing the beautiful homes all alit, (especially that one above with the lamp in the window from Christmas Story) has really given me that little nudge I needed to get into the holiday spirit.I must say, I love decorating my home for the season. Nothing is more comforting and cozying as a wreath on the door, a dazzling tree, some twinkle lights and garlands, and something delicious baking in the oven. There is nothing like being enveloped by the aroma of cinnamon and spice, and truly, everything nice. So, with that being said, should we decorate the home and bake something to tantalize the taste buds? I thought you’d never ask.

First things first, put on some holiday Pandora music. Or for all you cool kids out there, Spotify works too 🙂 My favorite is Dolly Parton Holiday. Her duets with Kenny Rogers just can’t be beat. Stop judging me. Ahem. Okay, first lighted garlands everywhere….

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This year, I am foregoing a tree, so I decided to put up my garlands and hang my favorite ornaments on there! Next up, a quaint little Christmas scene on my side table. My rule of thumb during the holidays, or quite frankly any day of the year, is to add plaid everywhere. The more, the merrier. And plaids mix well, so experiment with a couple different styles!

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Don’t forget the red pillows on the couch, my favorite red and black buffalo check quilt on the bed, and anything else that makes you feel Christmas. Little by little, it all starts feeling like Christmas in my home!

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Add a Christmas puppy to the mix, and I’d say we have a perfect holiday house.

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Now, let’s traipse on into the kitchen and make sure we add a little sparkle and shine in here, eh? Festive hand towels are my favorite thing to change for the season. So easy!

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Maybe a random little tree on top of the ‘Apron Shelf’, and a holiday cook book? Yes and yes.

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Now, as long as we’re in here, why not just grab one of those aprons, tie it on, break out the recipe book, and make some Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps from my favorite author and guru, Susan Branch!? They’re like little gingerbread cookies that are just as delicious plain as they are frosted, and my most favorite cookie to make for the season. You know those sugar cookies that everyone makes and frosts? Those are great too. Who doesn’t love them!? But everyone makes those, and quite frankly, after 32 Christmases, I am just  a litttttttttle sick of them. So the ginger crisp is a nice little twist on the classic sugar cookie recipe. Grab all your cookie cutters out of hiding and let’s reintroduce them to flour and sugar. Hooray!

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It’s nice when baking, or cooking anything for that matter to get all ingredients in one place. So when your hands are all covered in flour and butter and sugar, you don’t have to open cupboards or drawers and get things all mooky. Yes, mooky is a word.

You will need:

1 cup softened butter                           4 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar                             1 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and ginger

1/2 cup sugar                                           1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup molasses                                    1 tsp. baking soda

2/3 cup light corn syrup                     1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Here is a picture of me showing you all of my ingredients in one place, JUST in case you need an example… 😉

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Preheat the oven to 350*, and cream together the butter and sugars. Add the molasses and corn syrup and mix together. Warning: if you’re anything like me when adding together ingredients, this gets slightly messy and a bit sticky. You’ve been warned.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

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Mix mix mix until combined and then form the dough into a ball, with floured hands. Put it in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes, and take a little baking break with the kitty, Dolly and Kenny. Or, if you are not into that dynamic duo, I suppose you can put White Christmas in the DVD player. Seriously, just do it.

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Ok, once you’ve had your fill of kitty snuggles and Christmas garland views, grab the ball of dough and put it onto a lightly floured surface. Cut it in 1/2 so as to work with a smaller portion at a time.

IMG_3977Roll it out and put those cookie cutters to work! This is the fun part.

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There are no rules! Use festive shapes along with anything you have! I have some cookie cutters that are not holiday oriented at all. But I still add them to the mix. I don’t want them to feel bad about being left out. I swear I’m not a crazy lady. Bake those bad boys on a greased baking sheet for 8 minutes, and then allow to cool. Bing, bang, boom. Christmas cookie cheer.

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This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you will definitely have enough to bring to friends, neighbors, and coworkers, with a couple left over to pair with your morning coffee. Yummmmmm.

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There you have it folks! A delightfully decorated house, a delicious holiday recipe and a bit of Holiday cheer from me to YOU! I truly hope you are enjoying this season, feeling cool, calm and collected amongst the hustle and bustle of it all. Let me know if you try this recipe, OR if you have a different recipe that I MUST add to my cookie recipe collection. Merry Christmas friends! xoxoxo

1 Comment on Time to be Merry!

  1. Susan Branch
    December 12, 2015 at 11:00 am (3 years ago)

    You are adorable Lael ~ in many more ways than one! I see a kindred spirit here. Merry Christmas!

    Reply

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