Friday, December 2, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: FAMILY TIME by Betty Thomason

Not long after my brothers and I had married, Mom and Dad began the tradition of celebrating on Christmas Eve. That way, we could spend Christmas Day with our other family. At first it was just us with our spouses, then gradually, we added grand kids.

Mom did most of the cooking, preparing all of our holiday favorites—usually a ham, crusted with brown sugar, and decorated with pineapple slices. Pecan pie, apple mincemeat pie (an acquired taste), and our favorite molasses cookies. After dinner, we’d gather around the tree and exchange our gifts. I cherish the memories of those times we spent together at their house.

My sons were still in grade school when my parents made the decision to move three hundred miles away to West Tennessee, to be near Dad’s aging mother. They moved in summer. The first thought my older brother had about the move was, “Who will host the Christmas dinner? We can’t drive down to Tennessee every year.”

So I, as the only sister, volunteered. That year, the Christmas Eve celebration took place at our house. This was thirty years ago. Even after Grandma passed away, and my parents moved back to Kentucky, I continued to host the dinner. We had added a special treat—shrimp cocktail, which Dad loved. Mom brought pecan pie and homemade German chocolate cake, a favorite with my sons. And I always baked plenty of molasses cookies.

Though this special celebration is ongoing, one member has moved to Heaven. We miss my dad so
Learn more about author
Betty Thomason Owens
at her page on the
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much, but still serve his favorite foods. I see his likeness in my sons, and when there’s laughter, I think of him, because he did laughter very well. And I suppose that’s the best part of any holiday celebration, as long as there are plenty of molasses cookies.

About the Author:

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers.

Learn more about Betty and all of her books at her page on the Write Integrity website.

You can win a copy of Betty's contemporary inspirational book Annabelle's Ruth as part of our 12 Books of Christmas. Leave a comment below (and every day from now until December 12) with your email address as your entry. Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. Unsubscribe anytime.

Molasses Cookies Recipe:

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
¾ cup shortening
¾ cup butter, softened
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup molasses

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift (or stir) flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter until well blended and no lumps remain. Add 2 cups of the sugar and beat again. Add the eggs and molasses (molasses comes out of the measuring cup easier if you spray the cup with non-stick cooking spray first). Beat until blended. Add flour, use a spoon or mixer set on low to blend in the flour completely.

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Spread 1/3 cup sugar on a dinner plate.

Roll 2 tablespoons of cookie dough into a ball and roll the ball in the sugar. Fill a cookie sheet, placing the balls about 2 inches apart. Bake 17 to 18 minutes. Fill the next cookie sheet as the first one bakes.

The cookies will spread and have a crackled top. Cooking time makes a chewy cookie. If you’d like a snappier cookie, bake it a minute or so longer. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

12 Books of Christmas:

You can win a copy of Betty's ANNABELLE'S RUTH along with 11 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While your commenting, tell us: At Christmas, do you host or travel? Is that your preference or necessity?


Tammy Doherty said...

What a wonderful memory! Also, I just may have to try those cookies :-)
When I was growing up, we did Christmas Eve with my Mom's parents. On Christmas day, my brother and I had to quickly open gifts from mom & dad and Santa so that we could make the 2 hour drive to my father's parents. That was where "it happened" - at least 20 people in the house at any given moment! Giant stockings overflowing with gifts. Gifts piled 1/2 way up the tree (and extending well out into the room). Lots of wonderful memories.

Merry Christmas, Betty!

~ Tammy

Karen Harrison said...

What a wonderful tradition, Betty! And I'm going to try that cookie recipe for sure. Thanks for It. --Karen. /

Shirley Crowder said...

Thanks for sharing, Betty. It is fun to look back and remember the traditions, and all the changes and additions to those traditions. Psalm 100, particularly verse 5, came to mind: "The Lord is good. His love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations."

Gail Johnson said...

Enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions, Betty. Thanks for the yummy cookie recipe!

Betty Thomason Owens said...

Thanks, all of you. I'm so glad you enjoyed the memory I shared. Let me know if you like the cookies. They're my favorite, and the spicy scent fills your house as they bake. Very Christmassy!

Lourdes said...

One of my most memorable Christmas was my first year at a Catholic Home for girls. The Christmas tree was huge and the gifts under the tree were so many. We were a group of 20 and each girl received 4 gifts under the tree, I was an only child so to me this was like one of those Christmas movies.


Betty Thomason Owens said...

That's a sweet memory, Lourdes. Thank you for sharing it. Childhood is such a magical time!