What’s your family’s favorite holiday tradition? I told you about some of ours in a previous blog, and I also provided some ideas in case you were looking to add a few new ones to your holiday repitoie. For many families a favorite holiday tradition is simply slowing down long enough to bake up a batch of cookies. It can be especially fun and productive when you allow your kids take the reigns in the decorating department.
You may be surprised at how much children can learn participating in a simple task such as baking cookies. For instance, think about how much your children can stretch their imaginations and express their independence as they decorate baked goods. Baking also helps them develop their senses–colors, textures, shapes, smells, tastes and sounds are all part of the pleasure of food. In addition, measuring, pouring and stirring helps improve eye-hand coordination. Cooking also gives a child a chance to feel grown up (just ask my two-year-old daughter who struts her stuff when she is complimented on her decorating skills). Finally, creating a meal together can be a good way for parents on hectic schedules to spend more time with their children.
Now that we covered how productive the process of home-baked cookies is, perhaps you’ll be inspired to whip up a few extra batches for some people who will not have the opportunity to be home for the holidays to eat the sweet treats with their loved ones. I’m talking about our service men and women who are currently protecting our freedoms overseas. Treat the Troops, a nonprofit organization of dedicated bakers, is working to deliver cookies to those who must spend the holidays far from home.
How can you get involved with the program? Simple: Host a cookie swap — a party for friends and family in which everyone brings homemade cookies to trade. You could even turn your swap into a baking party—-bring a recipe or two to swap and bake as a group. For every cookie swap party registered by Saturday at www.greatamericancookieswap.com, DuPont Teflon will make a donation to Treat the Troops, which will use the money to bake and ship cookies.
The good news: More than 16,500 parties have already registered nationwide and DuPont has committed to fund a year’s worth of cookie shipments. Your party can be held at any time, but if you want your cookies to reach our troops in time for Christmas your swap must be held on Saturday. If you can’t whip together a swap in time you could send a box of cookies off to someone you know serving overseas on your own. Or, you could simply bake a few batches of holiday treats for a needy group in your community.