Enrich your holiday spirit with sugar cookies, decorations
December 2, 2011
It’s that time of year, time for all the Christmas cheer! Trees along Main Street are adorned with lights as store fronts are frosted with lit snowflakes and plenty of décor.
The holiday season has a knack for brightening moods, so why not indulge and find your inner child? Remember the days spent eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa and his merry bunch of reindeer? Let the engraved lyrics of all your favorite Christmas tunes resurface as you hear them played on store intercoms. Getting into the Christmas spirit is always a fun, cheerful way to fight those winter blues and finish the last leg of the semester on a good note.
Start with your room. Put a little spirit into it. Mini trees are easy to find and you can hang all your favorite ornaments on it or make a few of your own. Spread some paper made snowflakes all about, and don’t skip the window! Bells add a nice jingle now and then when placed in the perfect spot to reach. Top it off with snow globes, LED candles, a Christmas figurine, stockings, garland, mistletoe, and tinsel. Before you know it, you’ll have your own cozy winter wonderland.
Next, spread the cheer! This gives you feel-good, warmth inside knowing you were able to lend a little joy. This can be accomplished in many little ways. Play some Christmas music (not too loud) for others to hear, decorate your door, make or re-gift an ornament to a friend or perfect stranger, and try to keep plenty of chocolate, candy, candy canes, and hot cocoa on hand. A sure way to warm someone up from the inside out is with a steamy mug of hot cocoa filled to the brim with marshmallows. These simple acts can help someone else find a little joy during the winter season and brighten your mood at the same time.
Lastly, one of the best ways and my favorite way to get in the Christmas spirit is baking a batch of Christmas cookies. The aroma of baking cookies will make your stomach rumble and your mouth turn up in a smile.
Turn on some Christmas music while you bake and you’ll be singing and dancing around the kitchen. Picking out the recipe in itself can be an adventure. With so many out there, you’ll have a hard time deciding. Search through some family recipes for something tried and true, or pick out your own if you prefer the excitement of something new. If you decide to search for one, they’re everywhere, just browse some baking websites. Others can be found in the checkout lane at your local grocery store. One of my favorite recipes to really get a taste of the season is Christmas cut-out sugar cookies. The recipe is my grandma’s and we have been using it for years, always doubling it and adjusting the cut-outs to the occasion. Sugar cookies are great for cookie exchange parties as there’s a task for everyone. So go ahead, make a party out of it! Everyone will have a blast decorating them with frosting, sprinkles, and candies. Turn it into a holiday tradition and you’ll be sure to have friends and family looking forward to it each year.
So while the air outside turns frosty, you can be sure to stay toasty warm as you’re filled with the Christmas spirit.
Grandma’s Sugar Cookies
2/3 c. shortening, ¾ c. sugar, 1 egg, ½ tsp. vanilla, 2 c. flour, 1½ tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, 3 tsp. milk
1. Preheat Oven to 375°F.
2. Flour the counter or lay down a sheet of parchment paper. Flour a rolling pin.
3. Cream Shortening and sugar, add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in baking powder and salt, then alternating mixing between the flour and milk.
4. At first it will look like bread crumbs, but keep mixing until a ball begins to form. At this point you can use your hands to divide the dough into sizeable rollout portions.
5. Using the floured rolling pin roll out the dough to desired thickness and use cookie cutters of your choice to cut-out shapes (really thin dough will result in very fragile cut-outs).
6. Transfer the shapes to a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 8 min. or until lightly browned.
7. Repeat with remaining dough.
Easy Frosting: Combine powdered sugar with just enough milk, water, vanilla extract, or lemon juice to make it a spreadable consistency.
Brittney Pfenning-Wendt is a columnist for the Student Voice.