Continuing with our traditions this year, last Friday Jack and I made Gingerbread Cookie Ornaments to hang on our live tree. This tradition goes back to 2009 when I convinced Daniel that in addition to our fake tree that held the ornaments that are special to us, we should also get a live tree that I could decorate with homemade decorations.
Over the years I have strung popcorn and cranberries, made red-and-white paper loop garland and I always make homemade gingerbread ornaments.
I love the smell of the fresh tree and the fresh gingerbread in my home. It is a smell that will always make me feel like it is Christmas.
As I mentioned before, we skipped Christmas decorating last year since we were moving, which means the last time I made these ornaments Jack was still small enough to be strapped to me in the Moby while I baked.
This year was a lot different in that Jack is a precocious 3-year-old that insisted on being involved in the entire ornament-making process. On several occasions he even told me that I was his good helper.
My most exasperating (though funny) conversation with him while making the dough went something like this:
While making gingerbread dough Jack repeatedly asked to lick the beaters. After repeatedly answering "Not yet," I finally said, "Quit asking, you can have them when I'm ready." Jack paused for a moment, looked at me and said, "Are you ready?"Precocious, I tell you!
After the dough was made it had to chill for 2 hours and Jack didn't really grasp the concept of waiting. I told him we would have to wait until after lunch to roll out the dough. He gave this a thought for a moment and then asked if we could go ahead and eat lunch...
I resorted to a distraction tactic and we managed to wait the full 2 hours before rolling out the dough. Of course he insisted on helping with this as well. Thankfully he let us take turns rolling the dough out which allowed me to get it thin enough for the cookie cutters.
We spent most of the afternoon cutting out the cookies and baking them. Jack really was a good little helper and we didn't make much of a mess. When the cookies came out of the oven he was anxious to try them. I am so thankful I use an edible recipe because he really did seem to like the cookies.
It was Saturday before we had a chance to put ribbons on our ornaments and hang them on the tree. Jack was great at helping with this process as well. I turned on some Christmas music and we all sat on the couch to thread the ribbon. We even let Jack use scissors for the first time (supervised) and he did a great job of helping us cut the ribbon.
This was a successful tradition that translated well to having a child help. Though, as with any activity involving kids, you need to check your perfectionistic tendencies at the door and put on a patience hat. You know, for those times you turn around and find your kid rolling your rolling pin across the hardwood floors... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!