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. Baking traditions varies a bit, depending on our schedules and budget. some years we are busier and some years, the budget is leaner. We usually do a variety of cookies, (most often depends on how many gatherings we have etc). a butter cookie that i pipe out with a large star tip and use colored sugar on them. One daughter every year does gingerbread cut out cookies.
    I do wish i had more time and planned things better, so I could do more baking just for fun. and to have on hand for Christmas day snacking etc. What a great giveaway!!

  2. A baking tradition that our family shares is making Swedish Tea Rings and eating them as part of our Christmas morning breakfast. Absolutely delicious!

  3. Mama always made fruitcake & pecan pie. My children when they were little liked the cookies. Sometimes I would use the pizza pan & make a big cookie. Now, just me & I buy bakery in small portions

  4. We love baking and were so disappointed last year when the Ice Storm made that an impossibility! So we are determined to bake this year!

  5. I am starting the tradition this year of baking cookies with my kids and delivering them to friends and family.

  6. We bake whole wheat bread in mini loaves for friends and neighbors. It’s a tried and true recipe passed down from generation to generation.

  7. We have a great family recipe for cut out cookies, too. This weekend we are going to try our first cookie decorating tradition with a 4 year old, a 2 year old, a1 year old, and 2, 8 month babies. I’m looking forward to the fun!

  8. My favorite baking tradition is every year my mom and I make all kinds of Chex Mix. We started when I was a little girl and continue to this day!

  9. My mom, my daughter and I spend a day baking cookies and stollen. I use the recipe that my Oma gave me (doesn’t resemble Bronner’s stollen at all). It’s wonderful because my house smells like stollen for a week,what a great thing to greet me when I get home from work.

  10. My 20 something daughter and I like to bake Noel balls (sandies) and my mother-in-law makes the cut out sugar cookies.

  11. Your plan with of baking for the different age groups made me smile. Thank you for that. We bake a lot in our family because of my son’s dairy and egg allergies but the one thing the kids always ask for at Christmas is to help bake gingerbread men.

  12. Even though my kids are 18, 16, 16 and 13, they still love to decorate cut-out cookies. Since we have done this every year of their lives, Its a tradition we can’t go without. I have many old cookie cutter from my great-grandma and it is fun to pass along stories of times spent with her.

  13. We have a Generation Bakation Saturday! My Mom, Mother-in-Law, Sister, and Sister-in-Law, join my daughter and I for a whole Saturday of baking. This year we will have an extra and new generation with my grand-daughter! She is only 11 months so her assistance will be limited and distracted but it will be great to have four generations represented this year. We bake cookies, make fudge, and then package them all up in one day. At the start and the end of the day, we take a group photo for the albums and laugh and sing Christmas Carols all day long.

  14. We have lots of goodies for Christmas, but on New Year’s Eve, we stay home as a family and enjoy all kinds of foods throughout the evening. Good family fun!! :)

  15. Each Christmas is different here every year but two thing remain pretty much the same each year. 1. Opening at least 1 present on Christmas eve. 2. Christmas breakfast. It can be anything as long as it is hot and comforting.

  16. We don’t have any cooking/baking traditions :( I used to make a lot of candies when the kids were smaller, but got away from that as time went on. There is a crunchy fudge that my husband’s family likes that I’ve made a few times. But it’s not fudge as I grew up eating! With all the kids out of the house & have families of their own, I do even less traditional baking.

  17. Each year, my boys and I make gingerbread cookies and then put them into a house. We save some Halloween candy and buy more and have a day of decorating. The kitchen is a wreck for a couple days, but we love it and enjoy our time together! I sure would LOVE to read the books you’re giving away. Thanks for the opportunity! Merry Christmas!!

  18. I haven’t baked as much the last couple years because my 2 kids are college and older, but we used to make and decorate a gingerbread house. One year we didn’t have time to bake from scratch so we bought a couple kits and extra candy and had a decorating contest…complete with trophies. I’m sure if we can find the time while they are home, we might try to do this again!

  19. We do some baking but everyone says we need to spread it out over a few weeks not all at once. I love making gumdrop cookies as I remember going to my grandma’s house and making those with her and cutting up the gumdrops. We also do the regular sugar cookies and pretzels with kisses, buckeyes, gingerbread men and fudge and a couple others. I love making them with my daughter who is now in college.

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