The Top 8 Things about the Holiday Season!

No matter what holidays you celebrate, December has a lot going on. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and more! Parties with friends and families, communities, work places! To make matters even more complicated, we have several family birthdays around this time as well. No one ever can say that the holidays are boring!

With everything that's go on, there a lot of things to love about this time of year. Here is my list of the top 8 reasons I love the holidays.

First, everyone is in good cheer! I have more people smile at me, say hi, wish me "Happy Holidays", and just simply being nice! That holiday spirit spreads through everyone, making them kinder, happier, and more generous.

Second, I like all the reminders and opportunities we get to serve during this time. I'm a busy person, so I often forget to work service of some sort into my regular schedule. But this time of year, there are chances to serve, donate, give, and help in many ways! While we hopefully keep that spirit throughout the year, this is a great reminder to serve those that need our help.

My personal guilty pleasure during the holidays: cheesy holiday movies! It's not Christmas until I get a chance to watch Home Alone or Elf! I love classics like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and even Charlie Brown. While they often seem cheesy on the surface, many of the messages they give are special and heartfelt.

Another thing that I enjoy: the chance to give gifts. I admit, I'm a little materialistic. I like to give and receive gifts. The anticipation of waiting to open the presents wrapped under the tree and the chance to see someone else open a gift and love it. I use it as a way to express how I feel about someone, to show them I think about them.

I love all the holiday lights! They sparkle and fill the darkness despite the deep winter nights. No matter what religion, the lights signify hope. And hope couldn't do with a little more hope in their life.

One thing you can't get without during the holidays: food! And sweets! While I pay for it in January, I love all the treats that we get to enjoy this time of year that we don't eat the rest of the time. The candy canes, turkey, stuffing (I love stuffing!), cranberry sauce, sugar cookies, and more! See my attached recipe for these great gluten free sugar cookies!

I adore holiday music. Not necessarily the pop stuff they play on the radio but the stuff that reminds you why we celebrate the holiday, which ever holiday you celebrate. This is the music that makes me grateful. And singing it with people! One of my most favorite things to do is get a big group together and sing! The support of all those voices around you is magical.

My favorite thing of all is getting together with family and friends. We do that a ton this time of year. Whether it's an all day event with my brothers and their families, or a simply a small get together with a couple friends, these events lighten my heart and make my day. The time that we get to spend together binds us closer.

Happy holidays to all our DVO readers!

Gluten Free Soft Sugar Cookies

A traditional holiday classic, this totally satisfies my sweet tooth! What a great cookie to leave for Santa!

Serves: 15

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend

buttercream frosting

colored sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing or laying down parchment paper.Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until smooth.Add the salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and vanilla extract. Then add the gluten free flour blend and mix well.You can roll this out between layers of parchment paper and then cut out shapes, but I'm lazy. So: Drop the dough onto prepared baking sheet using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop. Use the bottom of a glass dipped in white sugar to press the cookie out so that it is about 3 inches across. So easy! No fuss!Bake in a pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom is just barely starting to brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.Let them completely cool, then frost and sprinkle! Enjoy!

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    Brenda Lower
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2015
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