Stress-less Holiday Baking Adventures

My kids in the kitchen

“Now it feels like Christmas.”

Baking with me in the kitchen brought these sentiments to mind and out of the mouth of my teenage daughter. She listed the multitude of little expectations that set the mood for the holidays, and she checked off nearly NH making a cheese ballevery one.

“After I left home,” I said, “I planned a list of ‘have to’s’ for it to feel like Christmas. But, I learned that what made it feel like Christmas in the family I grew up in was different for the family I was creating.”

For years I busied myself with my own requirements for a perfect Christmas—the right scent,  food, activities and traditions. Ironically, whatever I gave in love to my children created the Christmas feeling for them.

Now, I’ve let go of many expectations from my childhood Christmas memories, especially in the kitchen. Instead, I asked my children what treat or snack they wanted for the holidays and invited them to make them with me. We spent a morning this week together cooking and baking Muddy Buddies, Chex Mix, a Cheese Ballcheese ball, cookie truffles and covered pretzels.

All those years of baking alone in the kitchen to meet imaginary expectations never filled my desire. What I really wanted was the feeling of working together that I had shared in the kitchen with my large family at Christmas, not the food itself. This year collaboration created joy, not stress.

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