Storytime: The Gift of the Christmas Cookie

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the hustle and bustle, the Christmas caroling; the fun of creating wonderful surprises and trying to keep them a secret.

But Christmas is my favorite holiday for another reason, too. I love that we children of God (all the inhabitants of the Earth) open our hearts to one another to serve and share ourselves.

Christmas stories that remind us of the reason for the season are a wonderful way to bring that special spirit into our homes and share it with our children. I found this Christmas story at a book sale and I’m so grateful I did!

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth by Dandi Daley Mackall

When Jack smells something delicious coming from the kitchen, he can’t believe his nose — cookies! Since his dad left on the train, to try to find work, every penny the family earned has gone into the cookie jar.

The cookie jar hasn’t held cookies in months! But Jack’s excitement turns to disappointment when he learns the cookies aren’t for him. Instead, Mother is baking them for the needy people at their church.

While Jack helps roll out the dough, his mother tells him the legend of the Christmas cookie — a tender story of giving gifts of the heart that last forever.

Literature Activity: Christmas Cookie Ornaments

Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments

You are going to love these EASY 3-ingredient DIY ornaments! They are the perfect project to keep your kiddos happily busy crafting for an afternoon. Plus, they smell absolutely wonderful and make perfect gifts for giving!

We made these adorable little cinnamon ornaments with my kiddos last week.  My house has smelled amazing ever since! There are just three simple ingredients: school glue, applesauce and cinnamon. It couldn’t possibly be easier!

When rolling out the dough and cutting the ornament shapes, keep in mind that the cinnamon ornaments will dry exactly how they look when they’re cut. So if you want them to have a smooth surface, work the dough until it’s smooth on top. They’re easy to press back into shape if they warp a little when you remove them from the cookie cutters.

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can applesauce
  • 8 oz ground cinnamon
  • 4 oz white school glue (like Elmer’s, but any brand will work)

Directions:

  1. Mix together the applesauce, ground cinnamon, and glue until well combined, forming a soft dough. Knead with your hands until smooth. If dough is too sticky, add some more cinnamon.
  2. Roll dough to approximately 1/2-inch thickness and cut with Christmasy cookie cutters. Use a straw to make a hole near the top for a ribbon.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet and dry in a 200 F oven for about 2 hours, depending on the thickness of your shapes.
  4. Once dry, insert a ribbon through the hole and tie it in a knot.

Recipe makes approximately 2 dozen ornaments cut with approximately 3-inch sized cookie cutters.  Yield will vary significantly based on the thickness the dough is rolled or patted out and the size of the cookie cutters used.

Helpful Tips:

  • Ingredient amounts needed may vary based on the consistency of the applesauce and/or glue used.  The goal is to achieve a soft dough that can be easily rolled out.
  •  If the dough is still sticky after thoroughly combining all ingredients, add more cinnamon until a workable consistency is reached.
  • For easier cleanup, roll the dough on a sheet of waxed paper. 
  • These ornaments look (and smell!) yummy, but they aren’t! Ask me how I know, ha, ha!

We made over a dozen ornaments for our own tree, then packaged the rest up in cute cellophane bags to give as gifts. 

Storytime Snack: Christmas Cookies

We wanted to make cookies like the ones in ‘The Gift of the Christmas Cookie’ but I couldn’t find any beautiful molds like the ones in the book. So we just used regular old Christmas cookie cutters, then decorated the cookies with frosting.

We shared our cookies with our neighbors, just like in the story. Taking them around was the best part!

Soft Sugar Cookies:

  • 1.5 cup butter, slightly softened (room temperature) but not melty
  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 4.5 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

First, beat the butter until creamed and smooth. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combined.

2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined. If the dough still seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling. It should be soft, but not sticky.

3. Chill prepared dough for at least 2 hours.

4. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350. Grease 3 large cookie sheers. Divide your dough in two equal pieces. Roll the first into a large rectangle, about 1/4″ thick. Transfer the cut cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all the dough is used.

5. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until very lightly colored on top and around the edges. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. If you want soft cookies, do not overbake them.

Sugar Cookie Icing:

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. room temperature water

Whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. It should be thick enough that a ribbon of icing drizzled on the back of the whisk will hold for a few seconds before dissolving back into the icing.. If it’s too thick, add another teaspoon of water. If it’s  too thin, add another tablespoons of powdered sugar.  If desired, add food coloring. T

This cookie dough will hold its shape perfectly in the oven. The edges are sharp and precise; no spreading or distortions. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s storytime as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you! If you enjoyed this fun storytime, ‘The Gift of the Christmas Cookie’, check out my other Christmas Story Time selections!

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Pin this fun storytime craft and snack ideas for later!


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