Every year, one of our advent calendar activities reads: Cookie Baking Day!
And what that means is that no matter the day–it’s always a surprise!–the kids and I ditch everything (and I mean, everything. . . ahem. . . ), don our aprons, and bake.
All. Day. Long.
My mom did this for us when we were growing up, and it’s one of my most fond childhood memories. It was special. It was crazy. It was busy and fun.
I knew that when I had children I’d do the same. It’s not hard. And when the kids are really young, baking one or two kinds of cookies is all we did.
As they get older, their roles in the day become bigger, and they become responsible for a bit more.
It’s a favorite family annual tradition.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- Our Cookie Baking Day–Favorite Family Annual Holiday Tradition: Our Cookie Baking Day is a day we all look forward to.
It’s a lot of work, but in the end, we have dozens and dozens of cookies that we take to holiday parties and give to our neighbors as gifts.
The teacher in me looks at the day as an opportunity for some real-life reading, math, and science learning. The parent in me knows that the day is an opportunity for the kids to spend one special, unexpected day together, making memories and working hard at something that is important to each one of us.
Do the days always go picture-perfect? Um, no.
Do the cookies always look beautiful, taste scrumptious, and look bakery-fab? No, no, and no.
Do the kids get along harmoniously, taking perfect turns and following instructions top to bottom? No and no.
Does the kitchen get totally rocked by the end of the day, like a small bomb exploded in our house? Absolutely.
There was the time that Maddy slid across the counter and sent the salt shaker splattering into our dough.
The many times, while the kids were learning to crack eggs, that eggs exploded like fireworks in tiny hands.
We’ve had milk spilled, cookies fall, and ingredients forgotten.
We’ve spilled bags of chocolate chips.
We’ve seen Brady steal aprons and oven mitts; we’ve experienced burns and power outages.
Some years are easier than others.
How we schedule our day:
- Light planning: Before our Cookie Baking Day, Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I talk about what kinds of cookies we’ll bake that year. Some years we try new kinds, and other years, we stick to old faves.
- Big shopping: I take their suggestions into account and do the shopping for ingredients. Because the day is a surprise for them, I make the general cookie-baking plan. I hide the ingredients so no one notices.
- Big surprising. The kids wake and get ready for the day as normal. Then whomever’s day it is opens the Advent Calendar and reads that day’s Advent Activity: It’s Cookie Baking Day! Let’s bake, bake, BAKE!!
- Serious baking. We start before breakfast, making one dough and refrigerating it. We make another dough and send the first tray into the oven. We continue all day long, through dinner.
- Some eating. We break for meals while cookies bake. Of course we test the cookies along the way. Come ON.
- Light resting. Really, the kids only rest for one show after lunch, and even then, somebody takes a turn to stay with me in the kitchen. When I say we work all day, we really do work all day.
- Big sharing. We put many of our cookies away in tins, but one thing we really look forward to is assembling small packages of cookies for our neighbors. Not everyone–that would be crazy–but for a handful of close neighbors, we put an arrangement of our cookie-creations together in a pretty tin or container, and we deliver our sweets one day that week. So fun.
Do you want to give the Annual Cookie Baking Day a try at your house? Sure you do! It’s totally not too late!
You can follow the recipe below for some kid-friendly recipe reading:
And if you like this, check out our whole Holiday Baking with Kids eBook! 15 recipes your family will love.
Or check out some other fun recipes from our friends at Target–some new twists on classic faves.
How do you handle holiday baking? I’d love to hear:
- what are your fave holiday treats to bake?
- do your kids help in the kitchen?
- who do you share your sweets with?
fyi: This post was created as part of my collaboration with Target, the #MyKindofHoliday campaign, and Target Inner Circle. As always, the thoughts and ideas are my own. Target sent us a Ninja Gingerbread Cookie Set among other baking, decorating, and sharing supplies because they totally, 110% support our #mykindofholiday @target traditions!