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, too, but my children are all grown and they have started their own traditions of cookie baking. My husband and I make a delicious breakfast for all of our children and grandchildren on Christmas morning. Thank you for such a nice recipe and giveaway!

  2. I love to bake and cookies are one of my favorite things to bake. Every year I give out cookie plates to neighbors and friends and people just are just down and out!

  3. Thanks so much for another great memory and recipe. I can remember when my children were young they would go to my mother-in-law’s and mix & bake Christmas cookies and frost all of them and she would have the many colors of sugar, red hots, and many other types of sprinkles for them to use in their decorating. Plus they would make several plates to give away besides for our family too . Have a good Christmas everyone!

  4. I’m not sure what happened but my first post went to day nine??? Strange…anyway,
    Every year before Christmas, my girls and I have a major baking day. Since they were in school I would let them stay home from school one day in early December and we’d bake the day away. Last year when my daughter was a senior she said, “Mom, how are we going to do this next year, I won’t be home for baking?” Well, she flies in on Wednesday from Bible School out in Colorado and we’ve got a date to bake on Friday. Would trade this tradition for the world. I just love our day together in the kitchen.

  5. The holiday baking traditions in my home involve my husband and the kids. First it was with our boys, now ages 25 and 23. Now it’s with our daughter, age 13. They don’t do anything specific each year, but they do make something. And sometimes two somethings. But whatever they do, it is always a welcome addition to the after-mealtime treats.

  6. We made simple sugar cookies with Mom when we were growing up. I remember sneaking so much cookie dough I would get a tummy ache! I wonder if Mom ever noticed we had such few cookies for the amount of dough we made.

  7. Baking Family recipes, including fruit cake with raisins, and no candied fruit, which is actually kind of good, and freezes well if wrapped tightly.

  8. My kids and I love to bake together. For the holidays, we often bake lots of cookies, candy and caramel popcorn. I also always make homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Yum!

  9. We plan to make pb and chocolate bars, pound cake cookies and pb cookies with the hershey’s kiss. I love baking but sometimes find it stressful at the holiday time!

  10. many many types of cookies necessary for our family Christmas! looking forward to getting more actual help as the kids get big enough!

  11. As the kids are growing the traditions have changed a bit. It use to be that my sisters and mother would all arrive with different cookies mixed up and then each child got to cut a full tray of cookies and then go play until the rest had 1 full tray. It was an all day event. We decorated after dinner usually pizza. But now that most of them are in school and are very busy after school, I now have it that I mix the dough and for about a week, once homework is done, we make 1 kind of cookie a night.

  12. Thank you for your recipe and helpful hints. We make cut outs, almond blossoms, haystacks, thumbprints, and this year we are gong to try homemade caramels.

  13. Ummm…we bake too many things to list here! I diet before Christmas instead of after, so I don’t feel any guilt when enjoying treats! My kids have helped me with peanut butter since preschool years.m those play dough playing hands are great at rolling balls, and I dip while they roll!

  14. We decorated cut out cookies last night. It was a mess and there are still sprinkles everywhere today, but we had fun!

  15. I like to bake and Christmas time just gives me a good reason to. I always made bread, especially Irish Soda Bread for the holidays and most of the time it is a requested gift from extended family. I have taught my children how to bake bread from scratch as it was taught to me. Hopefully they will pass it on to their children too!

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