Tag Archives: Christmas

santa-and-mrs.-claus

Timeless Traditions Continue

Timeless Traditions Continue

Christmas comes but once a year and each year in Lexington is a special year. Did you know that the one real Santa Claus visits Lexington every year for the Uptown Lexington Christmas Open House? Santa has many helpers all over the world to help him finish all of toys and goodies for Christmas morning, but according to Mrs. Claus, “The real Santa gets to visit one special town every year, and Lexington is that special place.”

If you’ve been a part of the Uptown Christmas Open House, you know the important role that Santa and Mrs. Claus play. The streets are filled with children and families picking up specials Christmas gifts for all their families and friends. The unique presence of having the true Guest of Honor roaming our streets makes you feel like a kid again.

It all started back in 2002 when Mrs. Claus joined Santa on this special annual visit. Since then she’s been helping throughout the holidays around Davidson County. It wouldn’t be unusual to see her reading special holiday children’s books in the schools, or stopping by to add cheer in area hospitals, or even attending the hospital’s employee Christmas party.

Whether you’re young or young at heart, Mrs. Claus and Santa bring something special to our town every year. “Many times the children are so excited to see Santa, but they’re nervous, so I always tell them they can talk to me about what they want for Christmas and I’ll make sure to tell Santa just for them,” says Mrs. Claus.

One of the best stories that Mrs. Claus shared with us was about a time she was reading a children’s story to a group of school children. In the middle of the story her cell phone rang and she stepped aside to take the call. Lo and behold, the elves were calling to let her know they had run out of paint and there were many toys left to be finished. She kindly ended the call and a young boy raised his hand. “Mrs. Claus, I promise you as soon as you finish our story, my mom and dad will drive you to Lanier’s so you can buy some paint for the elves!”

We all know that Mrs. Claus is the glue that keeps all of Santa’s helpers together for the big day. Every year her role is just as important as all the hard work that Santa does. This year renew this timeless tradition or make a new family tradition by visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Uptown Open House on November 22 from 1-5 p.m.

You never know. You might hear the sleigh bells ring and the see the reindeer fly!

Christmas-Cookies

Christmas Cookie Recipes

Cutest Creative Christmas Cookies

 

Everyone loves a good peanut butter or sugar cookie during the holidays, and you can create a version of these classic favorites that will leave a smile on everyone’s face. Plus, they are easy enough to make with the kids!

 

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

 

3/4 c. peanut butter

1 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 c. shortening

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 egg

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

Chocolate-covered mini pretzels

Mini brown M&Ms

Regular-sized red M&Ms

 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

 

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until just blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

 

Form dough into 1-inch balls. To make reindeer-shaped cookies, pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point, then gently flatten with your hand. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until cookies are just set or just beginning to brown.

 

Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer’s antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose (Or use any other color. Some of mine ended up with green noses. They might be South Pole reindeer! )

 

Allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely. Makes about 40 reindeer cookies.

 

Melting Snowman Cookies

 

Your favorite sugar cookie dough

1 bag large marshmallows

Various icing colors for decorating

White icing

 

Roll out sugar cookies onto a lightly floured surface until 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Cut out with a large round cookie cutter. Bake according to directions and cool completely. Quick tip: You can also buy large round sugar cookies or slice and bake them using pre-made dough!

 

Once the cookies are cool, load them up with the cookie icing and spread it around with the back of a spoon, letting some dribble over the edge for a “puddle” look.  I prefer to stick the marshmallow on at this point as it tends to stick easier.

 

Spray a microwave safe plate with cooking spray, and place marshmallows on the plate. Set the microwave for 30 seconds, but watch the marshmallows as they cook. Stop the microwave as soon as the marshmallows start to get puffy. Do not let them double in size.

 

Spray your fingers with cooking spray or grease them up with shortening and carefully pull the marshmallows off, by the base, and set them on top of the frosted cookies. You may push in the tops very gently. You may need to use a little icing on the bottom of the marshmallow to get it to stick if the icing on the cookie has become too dry.

 

Decorate as you like with Wilton frosting or your own homemade frosting! I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy the Betty Crocker cookie icing was! Very surprised!

 

Homemade Cookie Frosting

 

This dries hard and shiny. It is very pretty and easy to store. This frosting layers well, just make sure and let the base coat dry VERY thoroughly first. (It takes a full 8 hours or overnight to dry entirely. I wait 1 hour in between applying the base coat and decorating, letting them dry overnight.) While the base coat is drying, tint the remaining icing into different colors. The amount of icing you will need depends on the number of cookies you decide to bake or buy. The recipe below will ice about a dozen cookies.

 

1 c. confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp. milk

2 tsp. light corn syrup

1/4 tsp. almond extract

Assorted food coloring

 

Directions

 

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. Be patient and get it the right consistency! It should drip slightly off of cookies, but for decorating it should be stiffer and you will have to adjust it with more powdered sugar. This is easy to do.

 

If you don’t want to bother with the above icing step, no problem, Betty Crocker and Wilton both make a powdered icing base that you can whip up in minutes. Then use decorator frosting in the little tubes or cookie decorating pens.

 

Tip: Add your favorite extract flavoring to your favorite cookie dough mix. It makes them taste homemade. You can also add lemon and/or orange rind with orange or lemon extract. So yummy!

holiday-music

Devotional: Keep me Singing as I go

“Aunt Donna, will you sing at my wedding?”

I looked at the beautiful child. As the mother of boys, she was one of only a few girls that I had the privilege of loving her whole life. I only had to look into her eyes to be instantly taken to another place and time. I remember her giggles and her energy. She had always been too happy and bubbly to waste a moment being still. And yet as I looked at her again, the picture in my mind of the bright-eyed little girl riding the big blow-up dinosaur around in our den was beginning to fade. The beautiful young woman standing in front of me was waiting for an answer.

“Well,” I hesitated. I hoped she couldn’t hear the “groan” that was growing inside me. I loved her. That is true. And I love to sing. One of my mother’s favorite memories of me is when I, at three years old, sang in front of the congregation at church all by myself. “What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see,” I sang for everyone to hear. If only l had realized what l was doing. I’m sure I would have fainted.

That’s right. Fainted. I don’t know what it is about singing that makes me so nervous. As I think back, some of my own favorite memories are times of singing. Some are just glimpses now, like faded photographs of long ago, when I see myself with my mouth open wide without a care in the world. My daddy and I, sitting in the front yard at home, singing a duet in perfect harmony to my ears. “When they ring those golden bells for you and me,” we sang. Other times I would hear his bass voice booming before the sun was up, “Wake up, wake up, you’re oversleeping, wake up, wake up, it’s almost day.”

I remember my mother singing to my brothers as she put them to bed, “When my little Boy Blue, closed his eyes and went to sleep, he prayed Dear Lord above, hear my plea,” and “I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,” as she worked in the kitchen.

The truth is, I can carry a tune. But I’ve never considered myself to have a solo voice. I can hold my place with the sopranos in the choir, although I’m usually at the piano these days. I have even been known to sing second soprano in a trio once in awhile. But all by myself? The thought makes me tremble.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t sung by myself in a long time. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t sung much at all lately. But as I study the Bible now, I am reminded that even in the most difficult circumstances in my life, the song in my heart is still there. It has never left me. And if there is a song in my heart, surely there should be a song on my lips.

You’ve probably guessed my answer to my niece’s question. Of course, I will sing at her wedding. I can’t promise her perfect pitch or a flawless performance. But I will sing because I love her. I will sing because I love her compassion and her Christian witness. I love her devotion to her family and to the fine young man she has chosen to marry. But most of all, I will sing because “There’s within my heart a melody, Jesus whispers sweet and low, fear not, I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.”