Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming and it’s important to try and keep it simple. Though I’ve never attempted to make this many cookies or candies.

 

December 1978

 

Just over three weeks to get ready for Christmas is what the calendar says. Unbelievable, you say. The coming days promise to be as hectic and hurried as wheat cutting, milo harvesting or hay baling time, but at least they will be more fun.

Creating the atmosphere for the family holiday festivities rests squarely on the shoulders of the mother. Quite a load, isn’t it? To try to do too much and end up being cross and worn out when the big day arrives is a temptation difficult to resist. It takes will power to decide not to spread oneself too thin. Myriad activities in the home and in the community entice us to spend long hours on them. And that’s good as long as the hours are available, but if not, try to simplify.

Cookie baking is traditional and a lovely part of the whole holiday scene but do we need peppernuts, lebkuchen, tea balls, date pinwheels, snicker doodles, almond crescents, scotch shortbread, and decorated sugar cookies to exclaim over before eating them? Choose a few to make and let the rest go.

The same philosophy goes for candy making. Instead of bogging down in divinity, fondant, fudge, and peanut brittle stir up 1 or 2 batches and call it quits. Then go visit a neglected friend or read somebody’s kid (preferably your own) a Christmas story, or just take a brisk walk with your farmer if you can locate him.

For me, I’ve selected the 3 p’s for our Christmas food tradition peppernuts, peanut brittle, and popcorn balls. After I finish making these standbys, I try something different each year from what we usually have. Last time it was chocolate fudge with home grown black walnuts. That is ruled out this December – the candy was so sweet and creamy I overindulged, and the bulge I acquired is still bulging away on my waistline a year later.

Here is a simple recipe you might enjoy this Christmas.

 

Apricot Coconut Balls

 

1 ½ cups dried apricots, ground

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 cups shredded coconut

 

Combine apricots and milk. Let rest 30 minutes. Add coconut. Shape into balls. Keep refrigerated in covered container.

 

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