My Christmas Cookie Baking Tradition

This weekend I was the host for our annual Christmas cookie baking tradition. It started innocently enough 19 years agowith three of us thinking that getting together to bake our holiday cookies would be a fun way to catch up while simultaneously checking off a major item on our holiday to-do lists. It’s an event that became a tradition as more friends joined in and we came to look forward to the girlfriend time as much as the cookies.

Christmas Cookie Baking Tradition

the festive 2017 selection

The Cookie Baking Tradition

As our group grew we got more organized. We now compare December calendars and pick a date as early as October, and select recipes in advance to ensure we end up with a good variety. Some cookies are such favorites they have become holiday must-haves–my Eggnog Spritz Cookies and Ginger Spice Cookies (you can find those recipes here), and Beth’s Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies that Jayme will make if Beth can’t join us. 

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We’ve also had to revise our operating procedures from a pure mix-and-bake protocol to ensuring that at least some people prepare at least one of their doughs in advance so we can start baking right away. We usually each make two types of cookies and decorate cut-outs that someone makes in advance, and that’s a lot of oven time–even doubling up baking sheets in two ovens.

Cookie Baking Tradition

The happy bakers in front of one person’s share of the day’s bounty.

We usually start around 8 am and finish by about 4 pm, helping each other with shaping dough, adding frosting, and deciding whether cookies are ready to come out of the oven. We eat very few of our cookies, although there is an upside to a cookie that doesn’t pass quality control or a batch that doesn’t divide by six evenly. πŸ™‚ 

I packed up my cookies as we went, and was pleased when my kitchen was back in order with all the stray sprinkles mopped up by 5:00 pm, but my husband was disappointed with my gleaming kitchen, wondering what happened to all the cookies!

Fit and Fueled

One thing that is becoming a post-holiday tradition is participating in Laura’s January nutrition program. This year she is doing a month-long program with six modules focused on fueling and training specific to runners. This program is designed for runners who want to run stronger and learn how to shift into fat burning or improve body composition, including runners with big running goals who need a nutrition boost or women who struggle with weight maintenance despite logging lots of miles. 

I find Laura’s programs to be reasonable and doable. Instead of suggesting drastic changes for quick fixes that won’t last through the month, Laura’s approach promotes sustainable changes in food choices and eating habits that can form a solid foundation for a healthier lifestyle and stronger performance. 

The course starts January 2, and even though I’ll be skiing the first weekend, I know from experience that her program will help me fuel my ski runs too. If you want to join me for a healthy new year, read more and sign up here using COCO for a special discount. You can save even more by committing early and signing up by Friday, December 15th. 

Weekly Wrap

While my cookie baking tradition certainly was the highlight of my week, I have other things to share for the Weekly Wrap link up hosted by  Holly and Tricia.

Monday: I had planned to kick-off my business trip at Harvard with a run, but I woke up with a weird hip pain that made me wary to run. I canceled on my BRWF (best running work friend) and decided to work out the kinks in the hotel gym.

Tuesday: By Tuesday I had figured out that whatever was going on in my hip wouldn’t be bothered by running, so we bundled up and headed out for a run along the river.

We ran towards Boston and caught the sunrise over the river.

Wednesday: By Wednesday I was at a different hotel, and opted for another hotel gym workout. 

Thursday: By Thursday I was back home and back at CycleBar.

Friday: On Friday I went to my favorite CPY2 class at CorePowerYoga. Our peak pose was peacock. I could get my legs off the mat, but not elegantly!

Saturday: Technically, Saturday was a rest day, but I was on my feet ALL DAY baking!

Sunday: On Sunday I ran the Jingle All the Way 15K for the first time. I’ll share a recap soon, but will tell you know that I enjoyed it more than I expected–even though I had to run around Hains Point. 

Did I mention that it snowed on Saturday?

Weekly Wrap

Do you have a favorite type of Christmas cookie?

Did you get snow this weekend?

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39 Responses to My Christmas Cookie Baking Tradition

  1. You and your friends are a well-oiled cookie machine! What a great tradition. My department at work is doing a cookie bake-off this week. I may try those eggnog cookies!

  2. Kim G says:

    I saw all of your cookies on Facebook and I was super impressed! I wish I could be a talented baker like you! What an awesome tradition to share with friends!

    Congrats on a great week or workouts and an awesome race this weekend!
    Kim G recently posted…Weekly Wrap: A Run-derful WeekendMy Profile

  3. I can’t believe it snowed there this weekend! That Christmas cookie baking sound so fun! I used to do that years ago,but since then my neighbors have moved and haven’t done it since. I would like to start it up again with family. I’d be tempted to eat them all though, so maybe it’s a good thing we don’t anymore..haha.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Weekly Wrap…Dec 10My Profile

  4. I did not realize that you had been doing the cookie thing for almost 20 years! What a super fun tradition. Congrats again on your race today looks like you crushed it. I am also doing the Laura’s nutrition group should be fun

  5. Wendy says:

    I’m slowly making my way through my annual baking marathon. Like run/walk intervals, I’m getting there! LOL! Today I made Cocoa snowflakes. I used Dutch Process Cocoa this year and I got rave reviews from my men. Warmed my heart!
    Wendy recently posted…A Runner in Real Life: Jury DutyMy Profile

  6. Yup, we sure did get snow yesterday. More forecast for next week. Sigh.

    I used to start baking cookies in the summer and freeze them as I went along. Of course, I also used to be very overweight! Since I’m not Christian, I no longer do that (although obviously it does’t mean that I never bake).

    Can’t wait to hear about your race!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Slip sliding away: 12/4-12/10 Weekly WrapMy Profile

  7. Sara says:

    That’s quite the cookie operation going on! You have really thought of everything. Thanks for sharing that nutrition course! It sounds really interesting. I’m going to have to look in to that!

  8. I got my first two batches of Christmas goodies done last night. Your baking day is amazing…lots of details you have had to fine-tune so it’s a well-staffed production line, but it looks like so much fun!
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Baby it’s Cold OutsideMy Profile

  9. How fun! I do love cookies, especially Christmas cookies! πŸ™‚
    And, talk about how organized you guys are, wow!

    My favorite Christmas cookie is probably old-fashioned sugar with the Christmas colored sprinkles.
    Shannon @GirlsGotSole recently posted…Workout Recap: W/E 12/9/17My Profile

  10. carla says:

    I have LOVE LOVE LOVED following along with this on the book of the faces.
    Im making donuts (traditional hanukkah food) this week with the child and friends.
    Heres hoping they turn out as lovelydeliciousfab as your cookies.

  11. Marcia says:

    Your cookie tradition is awesome. I used to do the same thing every year, alas it has fallen away. Good for you for running 15k after being on your feet all day! I swear it snowed everywhere this past weekend. We’re getting more this morning as well.

  12. HoHo Runs says:

    I’m impressed with the operating procedures and carefully planned logistics of your annual cookie baking day. But, why oh why don’t we live close by? You know I have a weakness for cookies! I’m glad you enjoyed the Jingle All The Way 15k. Very cute medal! Thanks for linking.

  13. One year I did a bunch of baking with some friends over a few Saturdays. On the last day we split it all up and were really surprised at how much we had made.

  14. Lesley says:

    My mom and I made gingerbread cookies this weekend. We made the dough Friday evening since it had to chill over night, and then actually making the cookies didn’t take too long after that. We had 4 cookie sheets, which helped speed up the process.

  15. Chaitali says:

    Wow, that’s an impressive amount and variety of cookies! It sounds like a lot of fun. We did a cookie exchange one year but everyone came with their cookies finished so it was more eating and socializing and less baking.
    Chaitali recently posted…WDW Marathon Training – week 14My Profile

  16. Now that is some serious cookie baking! What a fun tradition! I wish I had more patience for baking – but I do love a cookie…or two πŸ˜‰

  17. Rachel says:

    Seriously with the cookies, girl. You had me drooling all over myself this weekend!!! πŸ˜‰
    Rachel recently posted…Yoga, Trail Running, and Getting Back to TrainingΒ My Profile

  18. Karen Bayne says:

    I have not baked in years, that looks like a fun day!
    That is nice you had a longer Jingle run…so often it is 5K and I love the 15K distance πŸ™‚ You did a great job. We had snow too! It was a very gray kind of day lol everything was one color will Sunday.
    Oh, I love soft chewy oatmeal raisin cookies πŸ™‚ It is a weakness. Maybe i need Laura’s challenge.
    Karen Bayne recently posted…PCB Recap LinkMy Profile

  19. Laura says:

    I love that cookie baking tradition! And I’m really excited to have you doing the runner’s course in January… I didn’t realize it is becoming a tradition but you’re right, it tends to be January that I pull something together!

  20. Teresa says:

    Those cookies all look divine! 19 years is quite impressive! I couldn’t help but giggle when my 22 years old said they were having a cookie swap at his work… he’s the only guy in an office filled with women. Needless to say, I baked them for him πŸ™‚
    Teresa recently posted…Marathon Training Week 14: The Nitty GrittyMy Profile

  21. Andrea says:

    My mom used to make those wreath cookies! I’m starting my cookie baking marathon today with my oldest daughter. So fun πŸ™‚

  22. Jenn says:

    Russian teacakes are my favorites.

    I am jealous of your snow. We got down to about 34, enough for a hard freeze, but not for actual flakes. Booooo!
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 12.3.17 – 12.9.17My Profile

  23. I saw all the cookie pictures on instagram and oh man I just wanted to try one of each!

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