The Art of Gathering
A Guest Writer Series
Holiday Traditions Bind our Hearts for Generations
I come by it honestly, my love for creating a cozy and beautiful home, a space that you want to gather with those you love. That is true of me throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season. My mom always had a way of making Christmas feel magical and special, and that had a lot to do with the family traditions that she and my dad created for my brothers and I, and it’s something that I love having the opportunity to do as mom to my three little girls. The twinkling lights throughout the house, a tree in (almost!) every room, and my ever growing collection of vintage Santa’s add to the fun, but it is the little traditions that really make it feel extra special year after year.
Central to my memories of holiday gathering’s growing up involves a lot of flour, butter, and yummy things baking in the oven. From pies, to cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, my mom’s delicious turtle bars, and chocolate fudge, we love making our favorite sweet treats each year. But the one that most certainly stands out the most in my memory, and will hopefully continue for generations to come, are my Grandma Perkin’s Butter Cookies. I have the sweetest memory of calling my Grandma on the phone when I was home from college one year because I couldn’t find her recipe and she of course was ready and willing to share. I still have the scrap of paper that I wrote it down on and I tear up every year when I pull it out of the recipe box.
Now, the recipe is of course a necessary component, but it is the cookie cutter itself that is central to the story. I didn’t know until a couple of years ago, that the tradition started when my mom was a little girl, and my Grandma baked Santa Cookies (as we call them) for my mom’s 1st grade (December) birthday party at school. From that point on they became a yearly favorite for my mom and grandmother and now for me and my girls. Being the avid thrifter and antiquer that I am, I always have my eye out for that one special Santa cookie cutter that we have used for decades. My mom’s sister Janet, and her kids have one, as do my brothers and their kiddos, and my girls and I cherish ours. I have collected 10 or more over the years, and as we were growing our families we tried to make sure each new addition has one as well.
As soon as my girls were old enough to help, they have been helping me roll out and decorate these cookies (he must have a red hat and a white beard) and it is a tradition I hope that they will remember and share with their children someday.
Grandma Perkins’ Butter Cookie Recipe
Ingredients for the cookies:
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 T vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 t. baking powder
Vanilla Buttercream Icing:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 T butter
1 tsp Vanilla
4 T milk
1.Cream together the soft butter, sugar and egg
2.Stir in Vanilla
3.Add flour and Baking powder and mix.
4.*optional* You can chill the dough for 30 minutes before you roll them out to make the dough easier to work with.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
6. Roll out and cut with cookie cutters of your choice (but we of course recommend Santa!)
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
8. While the cookies cool make the vanilla buttercream
9. Mix all butter cream ingredients in the mixing bowl and whip until creamy!
Once cool decorate and Enjoy!
The Tenderness of a Holiday Tradition
I’ve so enjoyed taking the time to think through this holiday tradition that is so near and dear to my heart, and thank Daisy for inviting me to share it with you! I hope that you will make your own batch of Grandma Perkins’ Butter Cookies as you share the season with those you love. Because in our house, it doesn’t *truly* feel like Christmas until we’ve had our first bite of Santa Cookie.
Courtney is a fair trade stylist and storyteller who has a deep love for thrifting, travel, photography, and motherhood. She thrifts and bakes in St. Louis but her wanderlust heart is alway thinking of her next travel adventure.
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