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A Magical Christmas Tradition

gingerbread_man_cookies.jpgThe Christmas tree is up. Hundreds of tiny lights are dancing around the trimmed Christmas tree. The girls’ Christmas stockings look perfect on the wall while pretty garlands line around the staircase. That should about signal the start of Christmas Season for my girls. But no… According to Lauren, it’s the baking of the Gingerbread Man Cookies that evokes Christmas memories.

When my mom has our helpers bring out the baking utensils from the cabinets and the aroma of gingerbread wafts out of the kitchen, that’s when I know that for the Dado family, the holiday season has begun.

The aroma of molasses, cinnamon and spices excited them as kids. ““We’re hungry, mom!”. I told them to be patient and promised to read them the Story of the Gingerbread Man as soon as the cookies were baked.

Lauren continues on with her Memories of Gingerbread Men Long Gone food entry:

gingerbread man

As soon as my mom was done reading us the story, my sister and I would scramble to the plate, eager to eat the first gingerbread man of the year. To our surprise, the plate would be empty. ““The gingerbread man has escaped, find him!” After a mad search all over the room, we’d find the gingerbread man hiding among the books or by the computer keyboard.

My sister and I are adults now and much too old for gingerbread games. Many years later, my mom confessed that she’d have one of the helpers hide the gingerbread man while we were distracted by the story. (She also admitted to being Santa Claus.) That doesn’t keep me from feeling a little warm and fuzzy inside as gingerbread men bake in the oven and the house gets filled with the aroma of molasses and spice. I really should get around to learning how to make these cookies. This is a tradition I’d like to pass on to my children.

For the past 18 years, I bake Gingerbread Man Cookies only because my crazy tale and the warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas memories give my two older girls some comfort. The holidays are a wonderful time to fill my home with the aroma and fragrance of Christmas through baking Gingerbread Man and Christmas cookies. I ‘ve baked all sorts of Christmas goodies like Lemon Squares, Fruit Cake, Brandy Cake, Apple Pie, and other bar cookies but the demand of Gingerbread Man cookies are high on their list.

I was in Singapore when the first batch of cookies were baked by Luijoe’s yaya. Lucky for Lauren’s friends, they got to eat the first batch of cookies freshly baked from the oven. The Gingerbread cookies was not a Christmas tradition when I was a kid. Fruit cake was more like it but when I baked it for my kids, they didn’t like the taste.

fruitcakeI met the Gingerbread man cookies during my teen years when mom baked them for Christmas. We had a bake shop back then. I never knew the recipe but knowing my mom, she probably got it from Betty Crocker or in one of her baking books. So I modified it to call it my own since most gingerbread recipes had too much ginger. I tested all the recipes I could find and through frequent testing with my kids, I got the right mix. I never realized the baking of Gingerbread Man Cookies is such a magical Christmas tradition to my girls so I want to share this magic with you.

If you want to bake Gingerbread Man cookies, here is my GingerBread Man Cookies’ Recipe which I want to share to you all. And Fruitcake for the Holidays Recipe for bonus since that was my favorite Childhood Christmas tradition.

What Christmas tradition do you remember or observer or hope to pass on to your children one day?

9 thoughts on “A Magical Christmas Tradition”

  1. my son and I are getting ready to bake our sugar cookies. probably this weekend. he loves rolling the dough, cutting the shapes and decorating afterwards. i’m going to tackle the gingerbread house this year. OI!

  2. I’m sure your girls treasure the warm feelings that this tradtition evokes, more than the gifts they receive around this time, simply bec. it reminds them how much you love them and luijoe.

    For me, the memory of Mama cooking lechon de carajay before 12 midnight and preparing the refrigerator cake with her, would always, always remind me how special she is.

  3. ooooh… this is so heartwarming. reminds me of my our own christmas traditions. christmas has always been my favorite season (more than my bday actually) thanks a lot to my parents, that’s why my husband and i are taking a lot of effort to make our children’s christmas celebrations something they’ll remember with fondness when they’re older.

    when i was a child ilooked forward to “santa’s gifts,” and my mom’s spaghetti which in my opinion can never be duplicated by me or my sisters, hot chocolate and buko salad. very simple yet so special.

    thanks for the recipes! will copy them!

  4. @Lemon- I also remember mom baking refrigerator cake. What is lechon carajay? It must be a special dish

    @lady cess- Our parents did a great job giving us this special memories. I also loved the santa idea. Naku better get your mom’s trade secret so you can pass it on. Or better yet, make it even better than your mom’s.

  5. hi there, i would just want to ask where to buy the book “Fallen Cradle” I’ve checked on the websites of National Bookstore and Powerbooks for the search ended up with nothing, i would like to buy one just to inspire my friend who also faced a loss and now is moving on with her life… thanks

  6. baking cookies together is a tradition here, too. and my in laws still use the old recipes that are now yellowed and cracked with age with those twirly handwriting that i cant read. well, i’ve copied them already 🙂

  7. @jessie- Filipinos love to celebrate and befestive

    @marlon- Fallen Cradle can be bought in any National Bookstore branch. Best to call up first

    @raqgold- good that you copied them. My recipe cards are all cracked too with age. I should transfer them .

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