Christmastime Is Here

Confession: I begin listening to Christmas music once the months start ending in ‘-ber.’ I don’t even try to justify it. One of my favorite Christmas songs ever is “Christmastime Is Here” from the beloved classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. What could be better than that little, dinky-looking tree to get you into the holiday spirit? Christmastime is here, we’ll be drawing near. Oh that we, could always see, such spirit through the year…

Charlie. (source)

All that being said, I thought I would share a few pieces of Christmas from my house, as well as my not-so-top-secret-to-die-for Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that J says that I’m not allowed to share with the world because someone other than me would be able to make the best chocolate chip cookies that ever existed. Toot! Toot! ( <- that was my own horn) You’re welcome.

Our mantle has become one of my favorite aspects of our home. I never had a fireplace growing up, and even went so far as to create one out of construction paper one year so that I could tape my stocking to it (note: also construction paper). This year, we have a beautiful green garland spread out over the mantle with white lights, and a red mosaic-glass candle set sitting on a mirror. The extra light from the garland ads a little Christmas cheer to both sides of our living room.


We had to get a new tree this year because we couldn’t seem to find the base to our old tree. Even though J and I are two of the absolute WORST people at retaining things in memory these days (things should be great when we’re in our 70’s) we both seem to remember throwing it away last year. Note: If you have an artificial tree, DO NOT throw the base away. You cannot just buy these! Fix it! 

Anyway, here’s our “hotel lobby tree” as my friend K put it. Featured in this mini-collage is a photo of the champagne that we drank while decorating the tree. We are starting a tradition of saving a bottle of champagne from somewhere that we travel throughout the year to share while decorating the tree. J created an ornament for our tree out of the cage and cork, and I will mark the date and location on it each year. The rest of our ornaments are pretty generic, but the various corks will be nice to have as the years go by.

2010 Tree, Cork, Champagne

Finally, I share my almost-famous chocolate chip cookie recipe. Here’s a picture just in case you need a little motivation to make them yourself. I’ve made this recipe about 50 times now, and the cookies seem to come out differently depending on the oven, the amount of humidity in the air, and the temperature that the dough is. I have tweeked this recipe based on my experience making these cookies, and that is what I’m sharing with you. Bon Appetit!

(almost) Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

In a large bowl combine:
2 sticks salted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup (total) mixture of sugar and instant vanilla pudding mix (I use about 2 tbsp of the mix)
Stir together by hand until creamy. Add 2 eggs to this mixture, one at a time.

1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 2 tsp. hot water (before adding to mixture)
Stir by hand until uniform.
Gradually mix in 3 cups of flour.   Dough will be slightly fluffy.
Add 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir by hand until chips are distributed evenly. 
Use teaspoon to scoop onto cookie tray.  They don’t spread out much, so you can place them fairly close together. Bake 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees.  Let cool before removing from tray. Keep dough cool in refrigerator in between batches. 

Merry Christmas!

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