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. I love to bake. I usually bake some banana bread, fudge, cookies, things covered in chocolate and make a plate with a variety of goodies to give away. Fun times.

  2. On Christmas eve after church we take two or three handmade presents and drive around and look at lights while stopping and knocking on doors and leaving the gift and running..so they don’t see us..kids love it

  3. My kids and I love to bake. We bake cookie baskets for everyone on our street every year. Just to share some Christmas spirit.

  4. It’s not really “baking” but we do love to put a ginger bread house together as a family every year! We can’t eat it but we have a lot of fun doing it :)

  5. Thank you so. Inch for this post. Having a 2 yr old and a 3 yr old, I have realized even sprinkles can be dangerous in their hands! Sometimes the mess is worth it though. Thank you for all of your encouragement!

  6. Almond crunch cookies area favorite in our home! Decorating Christmas cookies this year will be realy fun with our 9 year old and 2 year old! Thanks for the advice!

  7. WE turn on Christmas music and the younger kids get to help with dumping ingredients in while the older ones get to pick a recipe and make cookies themselves.

  8. I always get into the spirit by baking. Usually I do cookies, but this year I am going to do mostly candy. Whether, I’m alone or with family members, baking is what gets the spirit of Christmas going. That, and, of course, CHRISTMAS music playing throughout the house!

  9. I don’t have any holiday baking traditions, but my sister does. I delight in her delight of the cookie baking agenda and making deliveries to all on her list.

  10. We bake cookies to share and we also like to make big batches of granola to share. And we make new ornaments every year too.

  11. I’m terrible at making cut out cookies! We have other traditions….candy canes on the tree, snicker doodles and ginger snaps.

  12. Unfortunately, my kids were not big fans of sugar cookies or any kind of refrigerated dough cookies so my large collection of cookie cutters did not get used much when they were growing up. But I have made pumpkin bread to give as gifts for the 30 years I’ve been married & my son loves it!

  13. My girls love to bake cookies with me at Christmas and decorated cookies are usually included. However, I have never gotten the hang of rolling out dough, so our cut-out cookies are “just for us.” I know it’s “cheating,” but this year I found flat sheets of dough, so I’m hoping that solves the problem! They will get the fun of decorating without all the hassle! That will give us time to bake other favorites, too! I love the plan you set up for getting things done! Wish I had read that years ago!

  14. I really don’t bake as much as I used to but cranberry bread and banana bread are a traditional Christmas morning treat…with enough for morning visitors! Yummy!

  15. We usually make gingerbread boy cookies. That’s kind of a long process too so I usually do the dough and my teenagers help with the cutting and decorating.

  16. We have a few baking traditions! We love making gifts for neighbors, teachers, friends, etc. So much fun to involve our kids in this part now!

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