The 11th Day of Christmas with Jill Savage of Hearts at Home

Welcome to the 7th annual 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!!!

12 days graphic

12 Days.

12 friends guest posting sharing a Christmas idea, recipe or favorite with you.

12 great giveaways for you to enter along with one GRAND PRIZE for someone who comments to enter all 12 days!!

Today’s guest is my dear friend Jill Savage.

All images © Michael Gowin Photography, 217-737-7908, www.gowinphotography.com, Lincoln, IL. Images may not be printed, copied, reproduced, or distributed without written permission from the photographer.Jill Savage is an author, speaker, and Founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization for moms. The upcoming Hearts at Home conference will feature keynote speakers Lysa TerKeurst and Dr. Gary Chapman as well as dozens of practical workshops.  Jill’s books include the bestselling No More Perfect MomsReal Mom…Real JesusLiving With Less So Your Family Has More, and No More Perfect Kids. A mother of five and Nana of 3, Jill and her husband Mark make their home in Central Illinois.

Jill writes about faith, family, motherhood, and marriage. To receive encouragement from Jill, you can subscribe here to receive her emails and when you do you’ll receive a free printable of I Corinthians 13 for Parents from her No More Perfect Kids book.

And now here is my good friend, Jill, to tell us How To Successfully Bake Cut-Out Christmas Cookies with your Children.

I’ve been baking Christmas cookies with my kids for 29 years.  Through many disappointments and trials and errors, I’ve finally learned how to do it well at every stage of mothering.  Let me share my secrets with you!

Here’s the recipe I use:

Christmas Cut-Out Cookies

1/2 c. Crisco

1 stick butter

1 c. sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1-1/2 tsp vanilla

3-1/2 c. of flour  (I usually add more until the dough isn’t sticky)

Chill 1 hour.  Roll 1/4? thick with rolling pin. (I disinfect my kitchen island and roll the dough right on the counter top. Make sure and flour the surface you are rolling on and flour the rolling pin–just rub flour all over it–so the dough doesn’t stick)

Use cookie cutters for shapes.  Bake 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes until shine is off (do not overcook–you don’t want them brown on the edges)


2 sticks butter (softened–I leave the sticks on the counter for about 30 min)

4-1/2 – 4-3/4 c. powdered sugar (I usually add more until it peaks when you mix it)

1/2 c. milk

1-1/2 tsp vanilla or peppermint (we use peppermint!)

Beat butter to fluffy and add 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Add milk and vanilla and rest of sugar.  Divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring as desired (we usually do red, green, blue, yellow, and white)

Note: Cookies can be frozen either before icing or after icing, if you want to decorate or eat at a later time.

Here’s how to successfully make cut-out cookies with kids of any age:

Preschool Years: 

1) Day 1: You make and chill dough while they are napping.

2) Day 2: You cut out and bake cookies while they are napping.

3) Day 2 or 3: You make icing and ice the cookies

4) Your preschooler can put sprinkles on while the icing is still wet.

5) Enjoy eating, giving away, and sharing the yummy cookies you made!

Grade School Years 

1) You make and chill the dough

2) You roll out the dough and let them use the cookie cutters to cut out the shapes

3) You put them in the oven.

4) Once all the cookies are cool, the kids and you can ice them and decorate with sprinkles.  (this can also be done on the next day if cookies are stored in an airtight container.)

5) Enjoy!

Note: Grade school years is a great time to teach your kids to make cookies from scratch. Since Christmas cookies have five parts to them–1) making the recipe  2) chilling the dough  3) rolling the dough and cutting the cookies  4) baking the cookies  5) decorating the cookies—I find this isn’t the best time to teach them to bake.  The process is too long and they are impatient to get to the cutting out and decorating.  Teach them to follow a recipe some other time with something like Chocolate Chip cookies or  Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that you just mix up, bake, and eat!

Teen Years

1) You make and chill the dough (if you have a teen that wants to do that, let them!)

2) You show them how to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies, then let them do it themselves!

3) You help with the baking.

4) Enjoy decorating the cookies with your family!

Even when the dough is already made and chilled, it’s usually about a 3 hour process to roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, bake, and decorate them. That’s why I’m a believer in already having the dough made and chilled no matter the age of the kids!

Once I bake and decorate cookies with my kids, I want to sit back with a book and a cup of tea!

And now……The Giveaway:

photoJill is giving away this wonderful “Christmas Cookie Recovery Gift Basket” that includes all kinds of goodies like: signed copies of No More Perfect Moms and No More Perfect Kids, two Charlene Baumbich books, a No More Perfect Moms video curriculum DVD, a Fatherhood Rocks thermal cup, and a Hearts at Home mug.

After you bake those cookies you can sit back and enjoy a little “me” time!

What about you?  What holiday baking traditions does your family have? Tell us about it in the comment section for a chance to win Jill’s giveaway.

And don’t forget to come back and enter each day of the 12 days for a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE.

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  1. We usually make Spritz cookies. One year,when my daughter was a teen, she ha tremendous problems with the dough sticking to the gun. She started to have a meltdown and finally succumbed to flinging the wads onto the baking sheet. I laughed until I cried and after awhile she saw the humor and joined me! :)

    1. I find this funny because Spritz cookies are a tradition for us as well and it can be a bit tricky if the dough isn’t just right! :-)

  2. One cookie that is on our must-make list is “No Bake” cookies – oatmeal, chocolate, peanut butter and more : ) I have fond memories of making them with my Mom growing up, and they are my husband’s favorite cooke : )

  3. the past couple of years my kids and I would make chocolate chip cookies on Christmas Eve and distribute them to the neighbors on Christmas Day. My mother was the baker in the family. She made the most wonderful fudge and now my son makes it

  4. One of the most festive and good-tasting cookies we try to make every year are green Christmas wreaths decorated with small round red cinnamon candies. My mother-in-law always made them and we carry on the tradition. Usually I don’t care for no-bake cookies, but these are an exception. Ingredients include corn flakes, melted marshmallows, melted butter and green food coloring. The kids and adults love shaping the mixture into small wreaths. It is a bit messy, but fun. And when the a few of the cookies are placed on a plate with other types of Christmas cookies, it adds some pizzazz to the presentation. We always like to make cut-out cookies too, as well as stained glass window cookies, Hello Dolly bar cookies and Mexican wedding cake cookies.

  5. I love to bake…especially at Christmas time. I am blessed to have 4 children and everyone picks their favorite and then we bake them together. We also make chocolate covered pretzels and share with everyone. What fun we have in the kitchen! I love to bake with my children. This year it will be more limited as I am working 4 jobs while we work to make ends meet. Christmas will be slim but we will enjoy our time together! May you make fun memories this season with those whom you love! Merry CHRISTmas

  6. I absolutely love to bake cookies with my daughter, and now that she is in her early 20’s we have been making our list of all the different cookies we want to make this next week. I enjoy the time we spend together talking, laughing and experimenting with varieties of cookies. I am getting excited for this special time!

  7. We make some of our favorite Christmas cookies only at Christmas. i often wonder why I don’t make them at other times of the year since we like them so much. I guess it just comes down to the fact that making them just at Christmas make them special!

  8. My kids love to be in the kitchen with me. Each year, we decorate cut out cookies and do a gingerbread house. Not matter how old they get, they still ask to do this. What a blessing!

  9. Snickerdoodles with red & green sugar, cranberry pistachio biscotti, my mom’s cinnamon coffeecake, & mocha truffles are must haves for our crew.

  10. We like to bake sugar cookies with butter frosting (real butter yum!), gingerbread cookies, and dill oyster crackers (thanks Gilda!)

  11. We make different foods every year, no set tradition. Our set tradition is to get a live tree from the same local store each year and have lunch out as part of the outing!

  12. One simple Christmas Tradition we have is that I put our Nativity scene on the fireplace mantel with all the people and animal figurines in it except baby Jesus. We hide JESUS behind the crèche and on Christmas morning he magically appears in the manger :) we also put the wise men way out on the end of the mantel and move them closer and closer as Christmas comes.

  13. I love to make cookies and at one time I would make lots and lots of cookies at Christmas and gave most of them away. Now I usually just make a couple different kinds – still give most of them away.

  14. My family is still new! My husband and I will be married 4 years this March, and our children are 2 and 3 months. So far here are some of our traditions we’ve started:

    * baking treats and bringing them to our local fire department
    * opening one book a day as our Advent countdown
    * having Christmas lunch at our house with both sets of grandparents

    I’m sure more will evolve as our kids get older!

  15. My kids’ favorite cookies are pretzel cookies. Place unsealed mini pretzels on cookie sheet and place a Herseys hug on each. Bake in oven st 170 for five to ten minutes. Take out of oven and gently tap a holiday m and mom the top and let cool and set for a couple of hours. Easy and no fail every time!

  16. Sugar cookies, homemade fudge and homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast are the traditions that I love the best! This year may be a bit different……we have that micro preemie grandson who is in charge of all our comings and goings right now. As long as Will is doing well, the traditions will stand. I always make a Viennese streitzel, a braided bread, for my father in law as he is from Austria and it reminds him of Christmas traditions from his childhood.

  17. We always make “It Smells Like Christmas” pumpkin bread, which is yummy. We also make cinnamon rolls from a special recipe so that we just pop them in the oven Christmas morning and they bake while we’re opening presents!

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