Host a Holiday Cookie Decorating Party

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Holiday traditions are the things that make the holidays “the holidays.” For me it’s getting out the box of ornaments, putting on Handel’s “The Messiah” (from Thanksgiving through New Year’s only), and listening to Linus explain to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.

A few years ago, however, I found myself wanting a new tradition – one that I could make my own.  As if by fate, soon after that I heard about Drop In and Decorate, the cookies for donation nonprofit started by fellow New Englander and food blogger Lydia Walshin.  The concept is simple – bake cookies, invite friends over to help decorate them, then donate your finished creations to a community agency providing food or shelter.  By incorporating three of my favorite holiday themes (food, friends, and acts of kindness) I knew Drop In and Decorate was going to be my new holiday tradition.

I have hosted a decorating party for the past two years, and I am already eyeing the calendar for this year’s event.  Last year I worked a Sunday brunch into the schedule, which I hoped would relieve some of the normal holiday event scheduling pressure and allow my guests to relax and enjoy themselves.

After filling up on scones, fried potatoes, and frittata we sipped mimosas at a table laden with cookies, bowls of sprinkles, bottles of icing, and all sorts of decorating tools.

In no time every surface in my kitchen was covered with colorful, sparkling cookies.  Later that day, I bagged them up, tied each bag with festive ribbon, and delivered them in a basket to the Cambridge, MA Senior Center, where I knew many a sweet tooth would appreciate them.

Holiday traditions can be as small as texting your brother-in-law the first time you hear his favorite Christmas carol on the radio (“Silver Bells”) to as large as hosting a brunch and committing yourself to baking and decorating almost two hundred sugar cookies for donation, but the good feeling we get when we do them is the same.

Keeping old traditions alive and creating new ones are what keep the magic of the holidays going.  They give us things to look forward to, things to celebrate with family and friends, and remind us of what makes us joyful.  Hopefully we are able to share that joy and spread it around, either with a smile to a stranger, a thoughtful message in a holiday card, or by sharing a basket delicious cookies.

  • Our family has many Christmas traditions, but my “musts” are watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to start the season, then decorating my lovely Christmas tree with old and new ornaments–some of which graced my grandmother’s and mother’s Christmas trees many years ago. The beautiful scent of evergreen fills the house and mingles in with Christmas cookies baking to lend true Christmas atmosphere!

  • My favorite holiday tradition is playing “Who’s Singing The Christmas Carol?” while decorating the tree. The answer is always Burle Ives and the winner is always Aimee.

  • courtney

    I look forward to designing my Christmas card, watching one holiday movie per weekend with my husband during the month of December, white lights in restaurants, oldies station switching over to all Christmas, buying for others, adding one new animal ornament to the tree each year, and seeing the first snowflake fall.

    Great write-up! This tradition that you chose for yourself is admirable, festive, and encompassing of what the holiday season is all about. Looking forward to participating this year – keep me posted on the date!

  • Jen, that’s my favorite special, too! A little bit corny but a whole lot of festive. I like that going to the ballet is Hubby’s tradition. 😉

  • I always kick off the holiday season by watching Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We also go see the Nutcracker every year because it’s a tradition Hubby grew up with.


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