Christmas Workshop

Hide Footnotes


“Christmas Workshop,” Friend, Dec. 1992, 10–11, 40–41

Christmas Workshop

Scandinavian Cookie Wreaths

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

2 eggs

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

4 cups flour

1 egg white, at room temperature

red and green gumdrops

  1. Blend the butter with the shortening; gradually add one cup of sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the orange rind.

  2. Gradually add the flour, mixing well. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

  3. Form the dough into 1″ (2.5 cm) balls. Roll each ball into a 6″ (15 cm) rope. Form wreaths by looping each rope around and crossing the ends.

  4. Place the wreaths on a greased cookie sheet and set aside.

  5. Beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

  6. Brush the egg mixture on top of the knots. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 10–12 minutes, or until done.

  7. Cool. Garnish with red and green gumdrop slices.

Scottish Shortbreads

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

pecan halves

  1. Cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.

  2. Stir in the flour and salt.

  3. Shape the dough, around pecan halves, into 3/4″ (2 cm) balls. Place 2″ (5 cm) apart on a greased cookie sheet.

  4. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Italian Jam Cookies

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 egg yolk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1 cup flaked coconut


  1. Cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk and the vanilla.

  2. Combine the flour and the salt, then slowly add to the creamed mixture, stirring well. Chill the dough for an hour.

  3. Shape the dough into 1″ (2.5 cm) balls. Dip each ball into the egg white, then roll it in the coconut.

  4. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, then make a small well in the top with your thumb.

  5. Bake at 300° F (150° C) for 20–25 minutes. After the cookies cool, fill the wells with jam.

English Toffee Squares

1 cup butter

1 cup well-packed brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 small package chocolate chips

1 cup finely chopped pecans

  1. Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the egg yolk and the vanilla, then mix in the flour.

  2. Press the dough into a lightly greased 15″ x 10″ (38 cm x 25 cm) jelly roll pan and bake at 325° F (163° C) for 15–20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  3. Immediately cover with chocolate chips. Spread melted chocolate chips with a table knife. Sprinkle with pecans and cut into squares. Cool completely before eating.

Spanish Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup hazelnuts or chopped walnuts

powdered sugar

  1. Cream the butter with the powdered sugar.

  2. Gradually add the flour and beat well. Stir in the hazelnuts and chill for 30 minutes.

  3. Form the dough into 1″ (2.5 cm) balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° F (200° C) for 12–14 minutes. Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, roll them in powdered sugar.

American Chocolate Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

2 ounces (57 g) semi-sweet chocolate

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Frosting

  1. Mix the sugar, shortening, and egg until creamy. Add the vanilla and the milk and stir well.

  2. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Meanwhile, blend the dry ingredients, then gradually blend into the sugar mixture. Add the melted chocolate and stir well.

  3. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–13 minutes. Frost when cool.

Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

crushed candy cane (optional)

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the first three ingredients. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate melts.

  2. Add the powdered sugar, stirring until the mixture is smooth. More milk may be added for a thinner frosting.

  3. Frost cookies. If desired, decorate cookies with crushed candy cane.

Candy-Cane Reindeer

To make a candy-cane reindeer, you will need: one large candy cane, one red pipe cleaner, two fake eyes, one small red pom-pom, red or green ribbon, glue, and scissors.

  1. Find the middle of the pipe cleaner. Place it around the curved top of the candy cane, and twist it on tight. Bend the pipe cleaner ends to look like antlers (see illustration).

  2. Glue the eyes and nose on the candy cane’s curved end.

  3. Tie or glue a ribbon around the neck on the long part of the candy cane. Hang the reindeer on the Christmas tree, use it to decorate a present, or give it as a gift.

Paper Lanterns

To make a paper lantern, you will need: 3″ x 5″ (7.5 cm x 12.5 cm) piece of sturdy holiday wrapping paper, scissors, a stapler, and ribbon.

  1. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Cut slits along the folded edge of the paper (see illustration).

  2. Unfold the paper, and shape it into a circle. Overlap the ends of the paper and staple them together.

  3. Punch holes on opposite sides of the top of the lantern. Thread ribbon through each hole, knot the ends, then use the ribbon to hang the lantern from your Christmas tree.

Bird Treats

To make holiday bird treats, you will need: cookie cutters, bread, peanut butter, birdseed, sunflower seeds, cranberries (optional), and needle and thread.

  1. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the bread. Poke a hole through the top of each shape for hanging. In a 250°F (120° C) oven, dry the bread shapes for 10 minutes.

  2. Spread peanut butter on the dried shapes. Decorate with birdseed, sunflower seeds, and cranberries.

  3. Put a threaded needle through each hole, cut off the needle, and tie the ends of the thread together. Hang your bird treats on a tree outside.

Graham-Cracker Cottage

To make a cozy graham-cracker cottage, you will need: 8 graham-cracker halves, a small can of vanilla frosting, a serrated knife, and candy decorations such as gumdrops, red hots, sprinkles, licorice, peppermints, chocolate chips.

  1. For the floor, spread frosting along the tops of two parallel edges of a cracker lying flat.

  2. Press and hold second and third crackers vertically on top of the frosted edges until set.

  3. Spread frosting along three edges each of two additional crackers. With the unfrosted edges at the top, press the crackers into position between the upright crackers (see illustration).

  4. Carefully saw another cracker diagonally with the serrated knife to form two triangles. Frost the bases of the triangles, and press onto opposite sides of the cottage to form the ends of the roof (see illustration).

  5. Frost the two remaining crackers along three edges. With unfrosted edges down, press each cracker onto the triangles to finish the roof. Let the frosting dry completely before decorating.

  6. Decorate with frosting and candies, using dabs of frosting to hold the candies in place.

Window Paintings

To paint a Christmas window, you will need: a clean window, sponge brushes, a small bristled brush (for detail work), water-based tempera paints, paper cups, and a small paint roller (optional).

  1. Choose a picture to paint from a coloring book, magazine, or Christmas card, or use your imagination. Draw the chosen picture on paper before you start painting.

  2. Pour a different-color paint in each paper cup and start painting! Note: let each color of paint dry before painting over it with another color.


  1. Paint three circles with the largest circle on the bottom, a medium circle on top of it, and the smallest circle next. Let dry.

  2. Paint a carrot nose, black eyes, a scarf, buttons, and a hat.

Candy Cane

  1. Paint a white curved cane. Let dry.

  2. Paint diagonal red stripes on the white cane. Paint a bow.

Christmas Tree

  1. With green paint, make broad strokes coming from an imaginary center of the tree. Let dry. Paint a tree stand.

  2. Paint garlands on the tree, and colored circles to look like Christmas ornaments or lights. Paint a star at the top of the tree.

New-Fallen Snow

  1. Roll the paint roller in just enough paint to barely cover the roller.

  2. Gently roll it along the bottom of the window.

Illustrated by Jeanette Andrews

Photos by Phil Shurtleff