The feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28th remembers the innocent babies who were killed by order of King Herod when he was trying to find and kill the infant Jesus. I found some rather gory suggestions of serving a white pudding (white for the infants' innocence and purity) topped with strawberry sauce (since red is the color of martyrs) - but that really sounded unappealing to me!! So, instead, we had another dish which contained both colors in a more tasteful way, in my opinion! These are baked stuffed apples, which were delicious with the butter rum sauce (for the adults)! Caroline also commemorated this feast day by playing "the flight into Egypt," in which she pretends to be Mary and escapes to Egypt (my kitchen, where I apparently live as an Egyptian woman!) and asks me to hide her, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Herod's soldiers actually follow them into Egypt in her version, ha ha.
Since we often see relatives a few days after Christmas Day, we save some of the baking for then so we can have some fresh;y-baked treats to share. This year, we made our classic gingerbread men, Christmas bark, caramel popcorn, and M & M pretzel thingies, all of which keep pretty well. However, eggnog cookies and cocomint cookies might not keep as well, so it is good to have some things we can bake after Christmas Day. This year, I had a bunch of coconut milk that had a sell by date a couple days after Christmas, so I finished that off by making some more coconut banana bread. I also made this delicious coconut rice pudding (without the "optional" ingredients and using butter rather than coconut oil) for breakfast one morning - a really good recipe, which both the girls ate completely even though the had shunned my earlier attempt at another coconut rice pudding recipe. We had it for breakfast on the feast of the Holy Innocents, and regarding the aforementioned distasteful pudding recipe idea I mentioned above, I should also note that it was said that serving pudding could also be a reminder of the age of the Holy Innocents, as babies tend to start with softer foods. Not that I would feed my babies sweetened puddings or even spoon-feed them at all, for that matter, but the idea is there of softer foods being well-suited for babies! That being said, I made the rice pudding that particular morning because it was the same date as was printed on the carton of coconut milk, so I needed to use it up before it went bad! ;)
Cecilia helped to make the cocomints. These are yummy chocolate cookies with a mint filling sandwiched in between them. Sometimes I tint half of the frosting red and half green, but they were all green this year. An experiment to roll the edges in crushed candy canes was a fail and they were given as gifts in their standard format!
Something else we did was to make some ornaments. The girls made poinsettia flower fairy ornaments... well, I made them with the glue gun while they looked on. Glue gun crafts are often not good for the five-and-under crowd. ;)
Gold chargers can fancy up the table... or as Cecilia asked at my mom's house (where she also has gold chargers), "Why does everybody have two plates?"
Another Christmas season ritual: writing thank-you notes. I have been taking photos of the girls enjoying gifts from their relatives, and then I put them into a thank-you note document. This year, Caroline could fill in many of the blanks in the form thank-you note herself. We drank hot chocolate stirred with candy canes while working on the notes.
Here's an easy little thing: we had biscuits with our dinner one evening, so rather than cutting them in the standard circle shape, I let Cecilia use Christmas cookie cutters to cut them out. We had biscuits shaped like wreaths, trees, and stockings!
A Christmas art project: making a nativity silhouette painting. I saw these last year and thought they were just beautiful, so I saved the idea. We mixed up a few shades of blue paint, dark purple, and a very deep blue, and the girls painted a swirl design. I showed Caroline how by modeling with Cecilia's paper, and then I gave Cecilia a bit more assistance while Caroline did most of hers on her own. The deepest blue was used for the ground. After they dried, we glued the nativity cut-outs in place. The template to trace these is found at the link above.
Here's a random shot of Caroline pretending to be a Salvation Army bell-ringer... she even opened up her bank and gave us coins to drop into her teapot. I need to teach her to sing Christmas carols in the same voice as our old Target Salvation Army bell-ringer did back in the good ol' days...
This was the first year in which we swapped out our purple and pink Advent candles for white tapers along with putting our Christ candle in the center of the wreath. We have been diligently lighting them at dinner every evening, as you can see by how low some of them have burned: