Christmas cookies make their appearance every December. I wouldn’t be thinking about Christmas cookies in June but you never know. Since this style of cookie is so popular at this time of year I decided to research its origin so I could explain the importance of Christmas cookies to my grandson.

The first cookie cutters for Christmas cookies were manufactured in Germany and became wildly popular in the United States. In the early days the cookie cutters were used to make clay based ornaments for the “Tannenbaum,” the German precursor of the Christmas tree we know today. Before long recipes were created to utilize the cutters to make delicious treats, frosted and decorated for children to eat.

Then along came a new holiday tradition, the custom of leaving cookies and milk for Santa. This custom was initiated during the Great Depression when economic hardship was a struggle faced by many families. Parents wanted their children to realize the importance of showing gratitude for the gifts they would receive. Believing in Santa was a bright spot during otherwise bleak times.

Here is my family recipe handed down to me by my wonderful Aunt Yvette. I always admired her holiday display of beautiful sugary treats made in the shape of the Manger and Blessed Mary. She was a woman before her time, a single, widowed Mother who raised two college educated daughters, a real role model. I believe in sharing. Merry Christmas!

Aunt Yvette’s Sugar Cookies


1 cup white sugar

1 cup margarine(butter is fine too)

¼ teaspoon baking soda

3 Tablespoons soured evaporated milk (add a little vinegar to sour it)

2 well beaten eggs

3 cups flour

¼ teaspoon vanilla


  1. Cream the margarine(butter), add sugar and and blend.
  2. Add eggs and blend well.
  3. Add vanilla, stir.
  4. Dissolve soda in soured milk and add alternately with flour and salt.
  5. Chill the dough until very firm, 3 hours.
  6. Roll out as thin as desired on a floured board.
  7. Cut into shapes with cutters and bake at 350 for 10 minutes but watch the oven, they can burn quickly. Let cool, then decorate.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: