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It’s the holiday season and we’re excited in my home. Southern California won’t have a white Christmas, but the spirit of the holidays is here. To get in the mood, we light Glade® Winter Collection scented candles. I was lucky enough to find the Glade® Winter Collection at our local Ralph’s Grocery in Glendale. The display was set up just as we walked in, making it hard to miss amidst the madness of holiday shopping. You can save on Glade® products with coupons. Find coupons for Glade® on 12/7/14 in most Sunday newspapers in the coupon section, you can also find digital coupons for Glade® on coupons.com.
Frosted Cookie Party™ is one candle we light when we’re prepping our decorations for our annual tree-decorating party. We make tons of sugar cookies, dust off the boxes of ornaments and invite friends over to help decorate the tree. Before they are done, the candle gets us in the mood and already smelling those delicious cookies. We even turn some cookies into ornaments (I’ll show you how below).
Nothing says holidays to me like the scents of sugar cookies, pine and apple empanadas. My Grandma Lupe would always make apple empanadas at this time of year. On cold mornings waiting for the school bus, I always had a warm empanada. I’d savor each tiny bite of warmth and spice and by the time the bus came, there were only crumbs and a memory of cinnamon. My grandmother baked with so much love that it kept me warm all the way to school. The Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ scent makes me thinking longingly of those empanadas and brings back memories of my youth.
When I was off school, I’d wake up early and pad across creaky, cold floors of the old house to the warmth of the kitchen. There I would find her at her stove, apron tied firmly around her waist. Breakfast would magically appear on a plate before me and after I’d eaten, we’d clean up and start peeling apples. She was a wonder to watch. Bowls would appear, butter, eggs, sugar…magically things would start to take shape. As soon as the spicy scent started to drift through the house my grandfather would appear…he loved apple empanadas so much. I loved serving him those first ones right out of the oven that were bubbling hot. He’d take a bite and sigh happily. To me, apple empanadas meant Thanksgiving, Christmas and time well spent with my grandparents.
While we baked, my grandfather would go down into the basement and bring up all the components to the nacimiento. He’d built a stable out of pine branches and would carefully place it on a table near the door. He’d check it for any damage and fix any loose nails. Once he was sure it was just right, he’d go outside and cut down ramas (branches) of fragrant pine from the trees bordering the house. He’d carry in a bushy armful and the scent would make me smile. Those green, needle-filled branches would cover the roof of our stable and then – and only then – would we get the fun job of putting out the statues of the Three Wise men, Mary and Joseph, and laying out the empty cradle for the Baby Jesus. Then we’d line up the farm animals around the cradle so they’d be looking down on it when Baby Jesus arrived. The large camels and elephant, would be lined up just outside as if they’d traveled a road to get there. My Aunt Jessie would sew a new blue satin gown for Baby Jesus and we’d make sure the inside of the cradle was lined with the softest of blankets. Only after Midnight Mass would the Italian-made Baby Jesus be laid down in his cradle. Custom dictated that each of us children would line up to give him a kiss of welcome. We’d have chocolate, empanadas or sugar cookies and be sent off to bed to await Santa, trading in one tradition for another.
Those days are long past. I don’t practice the same customs, not all anyway. The scent of pine still fills my apartment with memories via the Glade® Winter Collection Sparkling Spruce™ candle. When it’s lit, I can almost see my Papa Chava coming in through the side door carrying loads of ramas. I can hear his laughter and know, without a doubt that he is watching over me and mine. The empanadas are in the oven as we speak and sugar cookie dough is in the fridge waiting for little hands to use their cutters. There will be no midnight mass or kissing of a Christ child, but there will be stories told, memories shared, hot chocolate drunk before I shoo the grandchildren off to bed to dream of Christmas morning. Stockings are hung, not on a mantle but on the bookshelves – this is a very literary household. Yet another candle burns in our library (carefully watched) in short bursts of time, just enough to bring the scent of pine and Christmas to those hopeful stockings amongst the books.
The scents of the holidays are here and with them the memories of Christmas past, the dream of future holidays and the laughter of the present.
#collectivebias #GladeHolidayMood, #cbias
Sugar Cookie Ornaments
1 basic recipe for sugar cookie dough (we like this one)
icing (we made ours from just powdered sugar, a little water and food coloring, but sometimes, if we want to be fancy we make Royal Icing which is shinier and dries harder)
assorted sanding sugars, sprinkles, or glacé fruits
embroidery thread or ribbon
- Make the cookies according to your favorite recipe and cut out
- Before baking, punch a hole in the top of each one with a straw
- Let cool completely.
- Prepare icing. If you want various colors, you will have a divide up the icing in separate bowls and color each accordingly.
- Carefully thread a ribbon, colorful yarn or embroidery thread through the hole before decorating the cookies. Make a loop and tie off.
- Decorate the cookies using a piping bag. Alternatively, you can drizzle icing on or dip the cookie right into the icing so it coats the whole thing.
- Add sanding sugar or fruit.
- Let dry on rack overnight.
- Done! You can hang them on the tree, fill a gift box or set them out for Santa.