The holiday season isn't just about the gifts we buy, it is the memories we make together that are important. It's shopping together, visiting the Christmas tree lot, decorating the house, driving around to see the lights or a hundred other things we do during this time of year. We may not remember the gifts we get, but the time shared around the table and the Christmas tree, is what stays in our memories.
I believe there are three things needed to make special memories, planning, flexibility and a way to commemorate or remember those moments. I'm excited to share how our family did that this weekend .
Outside, the men and boys gathered around the grill and football games, while inside grandma, two great aunts, a mom, and 6 little girls gathered to make cookies. Each girl got a package of sugar cookies mix from The Gourmet Cupboard to make and decorate. We also made Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Raisin Spice and Texas Cowboy Cookies all from The Gourmet Cupboard mixes. The mixes made it easy for the girls since all the ingredients are already measured out; we just added butter, cracked an egg or two and measured vanilla. I'd like to say that is wasn't as messy as if we had measured all the dry ingredients ourselves, but I think Sharon will be cleaning up flour and cookie dough for weeks.
With Christmas music playing, we each chose our aprons,(Millie and I chose an elf, Sharon was Santa) and the 2018 Schrlau Cookie Bake began. We had a bit of a wobbly start, a few little girl tears and the mixer throwing flour everywhere, but we soon found our rhythm. With the Mavea's help (she is one super smart little girl!) I got the mixer under control. Libby and Sharon supervised the rolling and cutting out while Millie worked the oven. Improvisation and flexibility saved the day, years of practice have made us good at that. When cookie cutters couldn't be found, the brilliant idea to use kitchen glasses instead revealed our genius. When one rolling pin wasn't enough, we found that a tall glass could be used most effectively. With the oven going all day, the kitchen got so hot, we set off the smoke alarm. A few open doors and turning on the air conditioner solved that problem quickly. It was all part of making those memories.
With the last of the cookies being baked, we sent everyone to the park and we cleaned up from round one. A disposable tablecloth would have made this much easier. Clearly our genius did not extend to this part of the day. Cookie dough was embedded in the cracks between the leaves of the table, and by this time the floor was slick from the flour used to roll out the dough. Then with our area cleaned and cookies done, we stopped for lunch.
After lunch, the decorating fun began. All the children present, girls and boys alike, wanted to be involved. Parchment paper was placed in the middle of the table for the completed cookies to be placed there. Bowls of frosting, jars of sprinkles and colored sugar were placed around for everyone to create their sugar cookie masterpiece.
The first cookies were decorated and promptly eaten by its creator. After several cries of "you can't eat them all, we need to save some for later" the serious work got underway. The best cookie decorating style was from a two-year-old, who twisted off the top of the jar of sprinkles and poured it all on top of his cookie!
With laughter and singing Christmas songs, the table soon filled with decorated cookies. Then off to the park to play while we cleaned up again. The 2018 Schrlau Cookie bake ended with creamy hot chocolate and marshmallows.
To commemorate the day, each girl got a decorated container to fill with cookies to take home with them. What cookies that were left that evening were saved for the family Christmas, where the memories of baking them will be told again. I brought a couple of each cookie home for Steve to try. He declared they were great and ate all of them that night!
(We used empty coffee containers. I give Steve a hard time about not throwing them away, but his hoarding worked out to my favor this time. I've included a printable at the end of this post for you to use if you want.)
Making memories is easy, we do it every day. But planning, flexibility and commemorating will make special memories. You need to plan for those special memory making times and be flexible, maybe even have a backup plan. We planned for the cookie party but needed to improvise when we couldn't find the cookie cutters. Lastly, you need to commemorate that time. We did that by photos, take home cookie containers and even this blog.
God loves making memories, too. He often instructed his people to do things that would remind them of His goodness toward them. One example is found in Joshua 4:1-7. God instructs them to place 12 stones in the Jordan River as a memorial.
"so that this may be a sign among you; when your children ask later, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall say to them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall become a memorial for Israel forever.” Joshua 4:6-7 AMP
The last supper Jesus spent with his disciples was all about making memories. He knew he was leaving, so He spent some of His last moments on earth making memories with His friends. He blessed their bread and ask them to remember Him whenever they ate bread. Memories of that time with Jesus came rushing back every time they sat down to eat and had some bread. Those memories gave them strength when they needed to remember Jesus and His words to them.
This month, we are celebrating Jesus's birthday. As we plan and commemorate the special memories with family and friend are we taking the time to create special memories with Jesus? It is his birthday after all and He loves to celebrate with you. I encourage you to plan for special memory making times with Him, get a journal to commemorate and write down your memories of your time with him. Remember to be flexible and keep your eye open; Jesus likes surprising us. I promise the time you spend with Him will make all the rest of your holiday season "Merry and bright"
What memory making plans do you have this season? I'd love to hear about them so leave a comment or send me an email.
Click on picture to go to my Gourmet Cupboard website to order.