Our Family Cookie Exchange
Let’s be honest, our family cookie exchange is the one event I look forward to the most! There’s really not a Christmas cookie that I’ve met and haven’t liked. I consider myself a pretty good cook but when it comes to baking I just don’t fit the bill. I’ve always associated being an artist with being a cook and being a baker with a seamstress. A little extra red, a little bit of blue, and a little bit of black and the painting still looks good. The same with cooking; a little bit of pepper, a little more salt, a little bit more oregano and it all works out. But when it comes to baking it’s all exact just like sewing. Trust me I’ve tried substituting baking powder for baking soda.
So when my mom suggested having a family cookie exchange a few years ago I was so excited to rake in all the delicious cookies that I didn’t have to make. Two weeks before Christmas each of us promises to bring 4 dozen cookies but each year the cookies get more abundant and better tasting! Here’s a peek into my Italian families cookie exchange and a short tour of my parents beautiful home.
My mom Rita always hangs a seasonal wreath on her front door. With the dark door stain the wreaths always stand out. Come on in!
My mom always does a great job with her traditional themed decorations. Here she’s dressed up the mantel with swagging boughs of greens intertwined with red velvet ribbon and fresh pine cones. Glass tree toppers fill the pewter candlesticks and out comes the Santa oil painting. The sofa table gets an arrangement of massive pine cones, giant jingle bells and flickering candles. All decor from Wisteria Flowers and Gifts.
Mad For Plaid
Since my mom is always entertains for the holiday I gave her a few Christmas presents early. I found the perfect seasonal lamp at HomeGoods, a gold pine tree with a classic Christmas red plaid shade. It adds just the right amount of color and light to the corner. I also found her a basket for next to the fireplace. This soft canvas basket with the words The Most Wonderful time of the Year now holds extra blankets, accent pillows or firewood.
The flocked tree in the living room is a decorated with white glass, teardrop and finial ornaments, large white and clear bulbs, red berries and feathered birds.
The tree in the master bedroom is one of my favorites. Turquoise, dusty mauves, coppers and chartreuse ornaments and thick metallic green ribbon immediately draw you into the room. This unconventional color scheme adds warmth and compliments the room’s light blue decor. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this beauty in the morning?
Keepsake Collectible Ornaments
The family room tree is loaded with keepsake ornaments. In my previous Christmas Home Tour post I mentioned that my mom has been gifting my sister and I glass ornaments for years. Hers is loaded with all shapes, sizes, and themes. Each year my mom hides the smallest ornament somewhere on the tree and has a contest for the kids to see who can find it first. I’m thinking that she may need another tree in the the familyroom next year!
So here’s the money shot. Hundreds of cookies for our Christmas Cookie Exchange. Trader Joe’s peppermint jo-jo’s dipped in white chocolate and crushed peppermint, pizzelles, red velvet mini cupcakes with santa hats, cranberry and orange biscotti, traditional frosted cut outs, blondies, Christmas holly, peanut butter drops and chocolate meatball cookies just to name a few.
I love my mom’s collection of delft blue ginger jars. Simple greens, pine cones and berries are all that this sideboard needs.
My mom sets up a coffee and drink bar in the kitchen and we all have lunch and talk about our annual Christmas Eve gathering at my house. Sit down dinner for 45!
Here we are all smiling and waiting to dig in and divvy up all those homemade sweets. Gathering with these great women is one of the highlights of my year. I may not bring the most creative cookies to exchange but the laughs and the memories of this family tradition is priceless. Thanks Mom for opening up your home and sweetening the deal.
Cousin Val’s Chocolate Meatball Cookies
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 T cocoa
Yes my stepfather Rich gets a Rocking Santa in his Music Room.