The Christmas season is our favorite time of year. The sights and spirit of giving help you to remember what is most important. It can be so hectic trying to cram in family parties, work functions, and shopping for “the perfect gift.” But, it is the perfect time to really reconnect with your family and make memories that you will cherish for years to come. Straight from our family to yours, here are six of our favorite traditions, recipes, tips, and crafts to make your holiday more memorable.
1. Christmas Crafts
It doesn’t feel quite like the holidays until the house smells warm and welcoming and the décor is up! Cinnamon is one of our favorite smells during Christmastime, and these Cinnamon Stick Candles are the perfect way to decorate your home and keep it smelling wonderful.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Tacky strips
Roll tacky strips into small balls and place in a row along the circumference of each candle. Press cinnamon sticks into tacky strip to stick to candle. Continue the whole way around each candle. Finish your cinnamon stick candle by tying a ribbon or strip of fabric around it.
2. Christmas Parties
Our Christmas parties were always very lively. As our family grows larger and larger, we are always coming up with new ways to get everyone, from the youngest grandbaby to the oldest great-grandparent, involved. We loved playing games together, and this is one we talk about all year long.
Santa’s Helper Game
Supplies (one set per team):
- 1 package of red crepe paper
- 1 roll of masking tape
- A big chunk of white batting
- 1 sheet of black paper
- Child-safe scissors
Divide into groups of about four people, making sure you get a good mix of ages in each group. Set a timer and give everyone about 15 minutes to take a bag of supplies to turn someone on your team into Santa. Even though everyone has the same items, it’s amazing to see the creativity. Be sure to take pictures!
3. Homemade Gifts
Sometimes the best gifts are those that come from the heart. And they don’t need to be expensive to be memorable—especially if your loved ones are far away. We love the idea of personalized books on CD.
What you need:
- Children’s books
- CD and case
- Permanent marker
Use a sound recording program on your computer to record yourself reading a book. After you’ve finished, burn the sound file to a CD. Remember to write the name of each book on the CD so your loved ones know which CD goes with each book. Don’t forget to say “ding” or even ring a little bell when it’s time to turn the page!
4. Christmas Brunch
We traditionally have a Christmas brunch every year. No one wants to spend Christmas slaving away in the kitchen, so we try to prep beforehand and enjoy the morning together. Our favorite dish, Baked Apple Pie French Toast, is prepped the night before, refrigerated while Santa makes his deliveries, and then baked while you unwrap presents in the morning.
Baked Apple Pie French Toast
- 12 slices Texas toast
- 1 (21 oz.) can apple pie filling
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup cold butter, cubed
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
Arrange 6 slices of bread in greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread bread with pie filling and top with remaining bread slices. In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, preheat oven to 350° F. Remove dish from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place brown sugar in small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and corn syrup. Sprinkle over French toast and bake, uncovered, 35–40 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes 6 servings.
5. Gifts for Neighbors
We love thinking of little treats or presents to give to our neighbors every season. Because we’re usually pressed for time, we try to keep them as quick and easy as possible. This simple idea is perfect for neighbors and friends who love to bake.
- 1 set measuring cups or spoons
- Gift tags
Thread ribbon through measuring cups or spoons and write on the gift tag: “Wishing you joy beyond measure this holiday season!”
6. Christmas Cookies
If you participate in a neighborhood Christmas cookie exchange, we’ve got a tried-and-true cookie recipe that will leave your guests wanting to take the whole batch home: Mint Chip Cookies!
Mint Chip Cookies
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups green mint chips
Preheat oven to 375° F. In large bowl, cream together shortening and sugars with electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between eggs. Mix in vanilla and water. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture until just blended; fold in mint chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 7–9 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Get 6 more creative Christmas ideas in the November/December issue of LDS Living magazine, and for even more Six Sisters crafts, recipes, and traditions, be sure to check out 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters’ Stuff: 144 Ideas for Traditions, Homemade Gifts, Recipes, and More:
Overflowing with creative ideas for the holidays, 12 Days of Christmas with Six Sisters' Stuff includes dozens of recipes, projects, and ideas for bringing the excitement of the season into your home. With full-color photographs and easy-to-follow instructions, you'll find:
12 Family Traditions
12 Homemade Gifts
12 Christmas Cookie Recipes
12 Christmas Decorating Projects
12 Neighbor Gift Ideas
12 Ways to Make Christmas a Breeze
12 Quick and Easy Dinners for Busy Families
12 Christmas Party Themes
12 Days of Christmas for Your "True Love"
12 Spectacular Christmas Treats
12 Days of Giving Back
12 Christmas Brunch Recipes
Limited copies of this new Christmas favorite are available--order yours now before they're gone!