and this is why I can’t do mcfatty until after the holidays

Yesterday I posted about the tradition of putting up our Christmas tree filled with ornaments that mean something to us.

Today I have another tradition to share with you.

When my brothers and cousins were little, we used to have Sunday after church dinner at my Grandma Jo’s house every single week.

One special Sunday in December was when she hauled out all of her Christmas ornaments and let us decorate her tree while she and the aunts baked Christmas cookies for us to decorate.

Decorating Grandma’s tree was so special because she kept each ornament (no matter how ridiculous) wrapped up in a piece of paper towel tucked in one of many boxes.  Even though we were all bound to unwrap some syrofoam cup made into a bell, we all handled each paper toweled package as if we were unwrapping an irreplaceable treasure.

And really we were.

My grandma has been gone for almost a decade.  I don’t know what happened to many of those treasures, probably thrown away with everything else that wasn’t deemed worth auctioning off or that none of us had “claimed” when we quickly went through her disheveled rooms looking for something to remember her by.

When she no longer lived at her house or decorated a tree or celebrated Christmas in this world with us, my brothers and I were still unwilling to give up the tradition of tree and cookie decorating.

So for the past few years…at least since I can remember…we have been gathering at my mom and dad’s house to have our kids decorate their tree.  This is the first year that Eddie could sort of help.  Jack will be six this year and has been helping grandma for as long as he can remember.

My mom doesn’t wrap everything in paper towel (despite our pleadings), but she does keep everything.  If we made it in grade school?  She still has it.  So when she takes the old boxes down, it’s fun to remember what sorts of treasures grandma has in there.

She has some really, really old ornaments that I am sure are not really worth much, but are most definitely….old.

Many of the ornaments on my parents’ tree are handmade…not just by us kids, but by my mom.  When she and my dad were first married, she made all sorts of decorations.

Chris found the traditional Christmas turtle (yeah, we don’t know.  but you better bet it went on the tree).

Chris and my mom grandma show Jack and Eddie how it’s done.

oh look!  something I made!  Put it on the tree!

Oh yeah, and don’t forget…part 2 of the tradition is decorating Christmas cookies.

my mom bakes somewhere around a million cookies the day before.

We all have our jobs.  Cort and my mom are in charge of frosting all those naked cookies.

Jack is our master decorator.

but we all do pretty well.

And since Eddie is to young to understand decorating?  He just eats.

I watched as we were all able to come out despite busy schedules and sniffling colds and other lazy Sunday plans.  Grandma Jo was definitely there too…smiling on us and telling us not to lick our fingers.

Oh and ps…this cookie extravaganza?  This is just the tip of the iceberg of why I cannot do McFatty during the holidays.  Stay tuned in January when I decide to kick my butt in gear…just like the rest of America.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. Um.. I want some Christmas cookies please and thank you. I keep thinking my daughter is too young to start a cookie baking tradition with, but maybe not…. 🙂

    • I don’t think it’s ever too young to include them in baking! while I cook, I give Eddie a bowel and spoon and he stirs his toys in it. It’s so cute!

  2. LOVE it! I just love Christmas traditions, I got all warm and fuzzy reading about your family ornaments. My mom has all my homemade ornaments from childhood and I really want them. I have been making ornaments with my son so we can start our own tradition.

    I love ornaments that tell a story, in my opinion they mean the absolute most. I would say 80% of my ornaments could tell a story. I take my time decorating my tree because I reminisce about where I purchased or received the ornament from, what was going on in my life at that time, etc. I also tell my son all about them since the majority of them are came before he was born. My husband thinks I am nuts, but I can just sit in front of the tree and stare at my ornaments for hours. These are the very reasons why I love Christmas, NOT for the commercial side of the holiday.

    The cookie decorating looks like so much fun!

    • I am the exact same way! Christmas is all about the together stuff we do–the ornaments and decorations that mean things and bring back memories. The events we do year after year that we can reminisce about. It just all makes me so happy. I can sit in our dark house and just stare at the glow of the candles and the lights. So great!

  3. WOW! That is a lot of cookies!

    That is a great tradition to have and to be able to share that special time with your family is wonderful!

    • It is so many cookies! My mom was all mad that she ended up with so many! But who can eat all those! Ha ha!

  4. Awww what a special tradition your family have and it’s so heartwarming to read that it carries on. We doesn’t have this kind of tradition. We have fake plastic Christmas tree but I’m starting a new tradition with Lil’ A. 😀 He’s helping decorating the tree since last year. Those cookies looks scrumptious!

    • I don’t think it matters if you have a fake tree as long as you have traditions. We have always had a real tree, so it’s just part of the tradition. I LOVE that you include Lil A on the decorating! It makes such great memories!

  5. I would like some Christmas cookies NOW, please.

  6. Oh I love that you do this and I have total mad respect for your diarrhea of nostalgia on your tree. Ours is just like that. Every ornament has a special memory with it. Screw you Martha Stewart and your matchy trendy trees.
    PS. Wanna give me some of dem cookies?

    • yes, yes…there will be more nostalgia to come this week, my friend. I has the diarrhea of nostalgia bad this year! woot! And yes, if you come over? you may have ALL of dem cookies!

  7. What beautiful memories! I kinda wanted to be there, but I have four bags of my own sugar cookies in the cupboard right now just waiting to be baked and decorated so…we’ll for sure kick it in the butt come January.

    • yes…it is ridiculous for me to try to not eat unhealthy foods at this point. I just have to not eat ALL of the unhealthy foods in one sitting!

  8. I host a baking extravaganza for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it is definitely difficult with so much food in the house to manage your weight. Matter of fact, it seems that no one could wait until the 18th (baking day) to bake up some goodies, so we had an informal round one this past Saturday. Despite the setback it caused, I STILL posted McFatty, because it’s important to recognize what we did or didn’t do to help our situations. It’s also a great way to share recipes. 😉

    • i guess you’re right about that. But I have told myself I wouldn’t weigh myself or worry about it until after the stress and decadence of the holidays were over! Also, every Monday would be me saying, “I ate a lot of crap”. Ha ha!

  9. I love your pictures. Great job at documenting your traditions!

  10. I grew up making a bajillion sugar cookies with my mother every year. That was always our thing.
    But somehow, Katie and I have begun our own tradition of making spritz cookies. We just made them today, actually.
    Though the cookie itself is different, the tradition really isn’t … it’s still a mother and her child baking. Happy sighs.

    Thanks for sharing this bit of yourself, Katie.

    • You are very right, Nichole, the tradition is the holiday baking. That was a HUGE part of my holiday season growing up, and I am so glad to be sharing it with Eddie. And he is loving every minute of it. Happy sighs, indeed.


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  2. […] already told you guys about our Christmas cookie making extravaganza here.  It’s a great tradition we […]