Last week I did something this perfectionist has never been able to do in six years of motherhood; I let our girls bake Christmas cookies all by themselves. And not just any cookies…ridiculously messy cut out Christmas cookies with three colors of frosting and sprinkles. Go big or go home right?
Our youngest had been home for a few days with a high fever and we were all were feeling a bit of cabin fever and needing some fun. When I suggested making cookies I imagined the break and bake chocolate chip cookies that they could add red and green M&M’s to. When the cookie cutters started coming out and their excitement was starting to build, all I envisioned was the work that was ahead of me and groaned.
The flour from the rolling pin splattered across the granite countertops and beyond.
The sprinkles on the floor.
The hours of cleanup including handwashing all of the frosting tools and mixer.
But as she gazed at me with the still pale face and hopeful eyes, how could I say no to the first batch of Christmas cookies of the season? I mean this is what the holidays are all about right? Making memories with your kids while destroying your house? And while I usually hover and oversee all aspects of cookie baking operations, this time I shocked myself by saying, “Why don’t you girls make these all by yourself?”
They were stunned as well and then squealed in delight as they set off to start mixing. We made it easy, using packaged sugar cookie mix and they added the butter and even cracked the egg with no shell. Then while letting the dough chill they had a blast playing in the flour.
After a few minutes of that sensory exercise and making a certifiable mess, it was time to roll the dough, and start cutting the cookies out. Our oldest worked methodically trying to make as many cookies as she possibly could. I was so impressed with how she was even able to lift the cookies onto the cookie sheet, a feat I even struggle with.
When the cookies were baking we made the frosting, again a fun task for my taste testers. They even helped me mix three different colors for their masterpieces.
My kitchen table was transformed into their art studio where their Christmas cookie creations came to life. Snowflakes were crystallized with white and blue, stockings and candy canes made red and white, and the Christmas trees and their decorations blew me away. They had so much fun piling on the frosting and sprinkles that I couldn’t help but watch in amazement.
And luckily they let me decorate a couple too!
At one point our 6 year old asked, “Mom is this perfect?!” I replied, “There’s no such thing as perfect honey, but it’s beautiful. They all are.”
The floor may have been littered with sprinkles and frosting, the table and rug underneath covered in cookie paraphernalia, and the sink overflowing with dishes, but that evening ended up being one of my favorite new Christmas memories. The cookies were exactly as they should be, deliciously decorated by two children full of Christmas spirit.
Sure, some looked crappy, and had so many sprinkles when I took a bite it felt like I cracked a tooth, but it was an important exercise for all of us. I learned to let go of my expectations of Pinterest perfect cookies, gained loads of patience, and was wowed by our six-year-old’s baking and decorating skills. They learned how to make cookies from start to finish, (don’t worry I did oven duty) and found a new confidence in the kitchen and their mom.
Christmas is supposed to be a time of reflection and to rejoice with our families as we celebrate the birth of Christ and the coming new year. As we all rush around to finish the gifts, the cooking, and the million and one stresses looming, don’t forget to make time to make memories and create new traditions. And if you can muster the mess while the kids are home on winter break, please let them make their own crappy Christmas cookies for Santa this year. Even if they’re messy, they’ll still be perfectly imperfect, and most likely the hit of the party!
do you let your kids make their own cookies?
PS – these are my FAV to make with the kiddos, have you ever made reindeer cookies? So easy, try them!