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We got our first big snow this week. Our Christmas tree is up, filled with lights, gingerbread men, nostalgic ornaments, and snowflakes. I have already filled our home with the scent of cinnamon pinecones. Stockings are ready to be hung. I am currently sipping on my first Peppermint Mocha. What is NOT to love about Christmas and the holiday season? I love my tree this year. My amazing stepmother is the best tree decorator, and she helped me with the ornaments and decorations.
My family has always been big on celebrating Christmas. From the time I was a toddler, Christmas was a beautiful celebration of family, love, memories, music, great food, cookies, and gift-giving. Traditions were rich in my upbringing, including feasting on homemade tamales, tortillas, rice, beans, a Mexican soup called posole, and of course- the cookies! Mexican Wedding Cookies, Pan de Heuvo, pies, and other delectable desserts. As a girl with Mexican roots, I want to pass along some of my favorite childhood memories. My husband and daughter may not speak Spanish nor know much about my culture, but I am excited to share with them my favorite memories through food and tradition.
These mexican wedding cookies are super easy and delicious to make. I omitted the nuts in this recipe because my daughter doesn’t care for them, but I know they are delicious with them included!
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour, sifted (plus more for dusting)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired (we did not use)
- extra powdered sugar for rolling cookies in
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cream butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer on low speed. Add in vanilla.
- Whisk flour and salt together and slowly add to butter and sugar mixture.
- Chill dough for 10-15 minutes, if needed.
- Form dough into 1½ inch balls and place onto greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes or until balls show light brown on edges.
- Let cookies cool down a bit so they are not hot and gently roll into powdered sugar 1-2 times until there is a light and even coating. You can also simply sprinkle powdered sugar on the cookies.
- Makes about 30 cookies.
One of my favorite new traditions I have started with my daughter is a collection of beautiful, personal, special ornaments she gets to pick each year to hang on the tree. I love one with her picture on it, and then let her choose a few of her favorites. As she grows, I hope to pass along a collection of ornaments to her when she moves along and starts her own family. Starting this year she chose three Hallmark Ornaments, and the previous years we made her ornaments when she was too young to choose her own or were gifted special and meaningful ornaments. If we continue this lovely tradition, she will get her own box of 54 memory-filled ornaments when she is eighteen.
I love that a story will be told as the years unfold, including her age and interests. She instantly ran to the Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart when I told her she could pick a few ornaments. There were so many to choose from- Doc McStuffins, Elsa and Anna, My Little Pony, and more!
This year she chose her favorite Disney Princess, Rapunzel, along with Rapunzel’s Palace Pet- a beautiful golden pony. I also got her a Sophia the First ornament with her picture inside it. That one was more for “Mommy”. I adore the picture of her placed inside, and she lit up when she saw her little face on the Christmas tree.
Here is how we decorate our tree!
- Start by fluffing the tree by pulling out branches in different directions, making the tree look more “fluffy”.
- Wrap the lights around the tree.
- Take thick tulle and wrap around the tree, tucking behind branches to secure.
- Place standard ornaments around the tree.
- Take special handmade ornaments and place them in special, noticeable spots, near the front of the tree and at eye level.
- Add new handmade, Hallmark, or special ornaments each year!
This afternoon we decorated our tree with a few more special ornaments, baked Mexican Wedding Cookies, and listened to Christmas music. Speaking of music, the “Hallmark Holiday Favorites” custom audio channel is available on Pandora to get you in the Holiday music spirit. It may not be December yet, but it is not too soon to start making memories of the holidays. I am so grateful for my little girl, my husband, and my home; and I love the memories we are making here.
What Holiday traditions do you and your family enjoy? Share with me!