A recent Internet survey asked respondents what their favorite aspect of the holiday season was and then asked for details. With 65.6% of the vote, “the company” (friends, family, etc.) was the most popular aspect of the season. The most popular type of the company was “immediate family,” which included time with kids and grandkids.
Here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, we have traditions of our own and we’d like to share.
This tradition started several generations ago for one daughter of the Sturbridge team. Christmas cookie baking was one of the aspects firmly ingrained in the family’s collective memory. This child’s great-grandmothers baked a wide variety of cookies. Chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter, and sour cream, to name a few. Her grandmothers also baked cookies from scratch, as did her mother. When the child turned three, her grandmother said that it was time to pass these skills and recipes on to yet another generation.
The first year, the little girl stood on a chair to see over the counter. She watched her grandmother measure out the ingredients and then she got to pour them into the bowl—flour-coated face, hands, and hair with lots of giggling. She loved shaking out the sprinkles which landed everywhere.
The second year, the little girl got to help a little more—tiny hands on the mixer covered by her grandmothers to keep the batter from splattering all over the kitchen.
When she turned five, she learned how to crack open eggs, and how to use the measuring spoons. This year, she’s learned about fractions in school and her mother’s prepared her to use the measuring cup.
This tradition, the girl looks forward to every year, partly because of the sweet treats her labor produces, but mostly because of the special time she spends with her grandmother, who travels hundred of miles every year just to be with her granddaughter for the holidays.
Not every family can afford the time to bake cookies from scratch, and it’s difficult to find recipes that young children can both follow and have the patience to complete. Sturbridge Yankee Workshop carries a selection of things that can help you build your own baking traditions, and offers a continuously growing selection of staff-tested and approved recipes for you to try right here on the website.