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**My cookies from last year**

     So now that Halloween is over, and we are nearing close to Thanksgiving, what better time to start thinking and prepping for Christmas cookies?!?!  Ever since I was little, my mom was always the one to provide Christmas cookies at the family gatherings.  I remember making them with her and just loving it!  We would make quite a few different kinds, and continued to throughout the years, sometimes adding or taking away new varieties.

     For the past few years now, I have started this with my oldest daughter as well.  She loves making cookies with me and gets just as excited about it as I do.  I make a lot more than my mom and I used to though.  Not only do I provide the cookie platter on Christmas day, but we also give out cookie tins to all our friends and neighbors as gifts.  Over the years, the types of cookies, as well as the list of people, have continued to grow.  This year, we are currently at 23 different cookies, up from 17 last year and it keeps changing because I remember more that I wanted to do, and 35 people are on our list.

Here is my current list of cookies (Feel free to email me to ask for any certain recipe!):

1.   Anise Cookies
2.   Butterballs
3.   Chocolate Crackled Cookies
4.   Chocolate Mint Thumbprints
5.   Chow Mein Cookies
6.   Easy Dipped Gingerbread Cookies
7.   Holly Jolly Peanut Butter Cookies
8.   M&M Cookies
9.   No bake Cookies (oatmeal)
10.  Chocolate Chip Cookies
1          11.  Peanut Blossom Cookies
12.  Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies
13.  Phat Cow Fudge – makes
14.  Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
1          15.  Thumbprint Jelly Cookies
      16.  Sugar Cookies
      17.  Peppermint Bark cookies
      18.  Chocolate covered peanut butter balls
      19.  Chocolate Mint Thins 
      20.  Honey Coins 
      21.  Chocolate covered truffles with sea salt
22.  Pretzels with m&ms
       23.  Peanut butter cup cookies

     Making all these Christmas cookies isn't as simple as just baking cookies like any other day.  There is a lot of prep work that goes into the process.  Here are the steps I took this year:

1.  Make a list of people who are going to get cookies from us.
2.  Make a list of cookies that I wanted to make.
3.  Figure out how many cookies/batches I would have to make
      (I decided I would try to make at least 90 of each.  Two for each person, and then 20 for any additional people added, the cookie tray, and leftovers for my family!)
4.  After I made my list, I had to figure out some sort of order that I would make the cookies.  Making 23 cookies is time consuming, and I can't leave them all out to sit while the days past.  So I had to decide which ones I wanted to freeze, and for how long.  So, my plan is to make all the blue cookies first, which can be frozen for a while.  Then I'll make the green cookies, which can also be frozen.  Finally the black cookies, which I may try to leave out, or if anything, refrigerate until I'm ready to pack. 
5.  During all the steps, I'm also trying to figure out how I want to pack up the cookies to hand out.  Last year, I found some nice plastic bins at the Dollar Store that worked perfect.   The Dollar store doesn't have these same bins this year so I'm still on the lookout for the perfect container.  I know Ziploc makes some nice Christmas themed containers, I just need to find the right size/shape that I'm looking for. 
6.  After I have my list all sorted out, I need to start buying all the materials.  I buy what I can at Sams, since I need a lot of baking supplies, such as flour, sugar, vanilla, parchment paper, peanut butter and so on.  
7.  Finally I can start baking.  I do one every day, or sometimes every other.  I put them in a gallon sized Ziploc baggie, suck out the air with a straw, label it with type and amount of cookies, and put it in the freezer. 
8.  Once all cookies have been made, I lay them all out on the island and counters, and start packing. 
9.  Then, as a family, we deliver our yummy gifts and enjoy the Holiday Season!!

What are your favorite Holiday traditions?  Do you make cookies and have any favorites that I should add to my list?