My thoughts on Christmas (a couple of days late)

Please be forewarned that if you love Christmas, love getting presents and love giving presents than maybe you should stop reading now or just skip down to the cookie recipes below.

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As you may have discerned from my disclaimer above, this is not one of my favorite times of year.  I do not look forward to gingerbread cookies, eggnog or Christmas carols and garland.   But these are not the reasons why I am not fond of Christmas.

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I dislike this time of year for the commercialization that has become synonymous with Christmas.  I personally don’t enjoy shopping for myself much and I detest wandering through crowded malls trying to figure out what other people want even more.  I would much rather spend my time preparing vegetables for the DEWC‘s Christmas lunch and putting together 400 gift bags full of the bare essentials (warm blankets, socks, mittens, pjs) for the women who visit the centre.  Thankfully, the hubby has been kind enough to help me with the Christmas shopping this year so that I could spend more time doing something more meaningful.

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I think we’ve lost sight of what Christmas is all about and what one really needs.  Christmas has become, in my opinion, an accumulation of stuff, when it should be more about spending time with loved ones and taking the time to do things one enjoys.

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The recent passing of David’s paternal grandfather right before the holidays and the passing of my maternal grandfather in the spring has reinforced to me the importance of family and to cherish the moments that we have with them.

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Life is short and I would prefer to spend it doing the things I love: sharing a nice meal and some laughs with loved ones, volunteering, hiking with the hubby Christmas morning and getting back into the kitchen to do some baking.

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What do you love about this time of year?

Happy Holidays!

Recipes:

Chocolate espresso snowcaps (adapted from marthastewart.com)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled (I used half semisweet and half dark)
  • 1 tbsp milk (I used skim)
  • confectioners’ sugar, for coating
    1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt.
    2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate.
    3. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined. (Or mix by hand)
    4. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
    5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
    6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
    7. Pour confectioners’ sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.
    8. Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
    9. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch.
    10. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Notes and Tips

Keeping hands cold and slightly wet while rolling the balls will help prevent your hands from getting covered in chocolate.

Sugar cookies (see last year’s post here)

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14 thoughts on “My thoughts on Christmas (a couple of days late)

  1. The good thing about Christmas is that, unless you have family who insist on the commercial aspect, you can celebrate it in your own way. Giving gifts (even of necessities) to those truly in need and baking for those you love sound perfect to me. : )

  2. I’m with you. The stress of shopping really makes this time of year less than what it should be. We have cut way back, mainly only buy for kids, and just enjoy spending time with each other. It is MUCH more enjoyable this way.

  3. I love doing Christmas baking for friends, and spending time with family. The gift thing is way too stressful and unnecessary. I love buying things for friends and family anytime I find something I know they can use and enjoy, without the artifically imposed Christmas deadline. I like this time of year because of the music, decorations and jovial atttitude that is abundant (for the most part!). Happy New Year!

  4. Agree completely! It should be about spending time with your loved ones and giving to those that are in need. Not giving to those that have lots, but, just want more!

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