Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER!

You already know my holiday decor tends to be rather minimal so I’m sure you won’t be surprised to see these spare spaces from our prior Nordic French style home. Today, we’ll peek into my Christmas Past (these photos are from nearly a decade ago), and I’ll ramble randomly (just like a decade ago).

Pink Christmas decor inspiration and a pom pom wreath. Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER!

This was the first home we ever designed and built and where our young sons grew into men before flying the nest.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

It’s also where I baked our favorite Christmas cookies (some folks say they remind them of Swedish spritz…others just quietly sigh “is it butter I’m tasting?).

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Those cookies won a contest in Country Home magazine while we lived in this house, and my old kitchen found me leaping and weeping for joy when the letter and winnings arrived!

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Yep.

This home housed a lot of memories, bitter and sweet.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

When I threw myself a 40th birthday party, and we feasted in this dining room, I thought I had become ANCIENT.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Lord, have mercy, to be ancient again!

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

This is the kitchen where I baked lots of baby chocolate brioche, macarons, and, of course, my old fashioned sourdough.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

I changed things around in the dining room so often, I can’t even imagine how many incarnations there were. In this particular one, I brought in vintage oak benches (found them in a church’s garbage in Barrington) that I covered effortlessly with an antique French linen sheet I cut in half.

Now I use one of the sheet halves as a Christmas tree skirt.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

The lettering above the kitchen sink window reads LOVE LIVES HERE.

And like the square footage of my prior kitchen, it sure lived large.

hello-lovely-studio-christmas-cookie-recipe-swedish-buttercream
My winning Christmas cookie  styled in Country Home magazine

Speaking of BIG LOVE, can I tell you in whispers one of the sweetest moments of my entire life?

Our eldest, little Luke, perfectly platinum blonde in a two-and-a-half year old body, calls my name…

“MAMA.”

I look up.

“Yes, babe, what are you up to?”

“I’M JUST LOVIN’ YOU.”

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

There will never be enough x’s and o’s or pretty words for this mama to adequately express how her heart OVERFLOWS with AFFECTION when that little voice and sacred moment are recalled.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

A decade ago, I found myself often at my wit’s end as a parent of teen boys.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

One of the ways I coped was writing humorous essays where I sought to both make sense of and get mileage from the stresses and absurd daily exchanges and occurrences.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

In case you are curious about our family life, let me just say we are extremely independent-minded, passionate, creative, loving, and intellectual humans. Living with three very wild men has prospered me in ways I could never have imagined.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Though these interiors evoke a sense of femininity and softness, do know that very rugged and handsome personalities inhabited the halls.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

I painted the pair of Oscar Wilde panels in 2008, when a sort of spiritual journeying commenced.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

It was also when I began collecting dead pointe shoes…symbols of feminine strength and perseverance for me.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

The quiet days I spent in this home with Bella Luna were sacred and prepared me for challenges which lie ahead.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

The French door in the kitchen led to a screen porch, upon which I read hundreds of inspiring books.

hello-lovely-studio-wolly-pom-pom-wreath-pink-ribbon-chair-snow

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

This was the home where I delighted in making the wooly pom poms of my childhood, shaping them into wreaths tied with blush pink bows.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Above is one of the many incarnations of my studio…here with a black and white cowhide and red accents at Christmas.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

My mood boards contained notes from my young nieces, inspiring shelter magazine clippings, paint swatches, and quotes and scripture.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

The same table (that appears petite!) in our foyer is now our dining table. Oh to have a queen-sized entry again where so many hugs, heartwarming hellos, and farewells happened.

hello-lovely-studio-michele-pointe-shoes-pink-ballet-slippers-toe-poufs

Christmas Past & BEST Christmas Cookies EVER! Hello Lovely Studio.

For the photo of me above (taken by sister Jo), I’m on pointe upon a guest bedroom’s window seat where tissue poufs I made, are scattered. I recall this moment as if it were yesterday. I felt strong and full of creative energy. I had not yet deepened, nor softened from the breast cancer previvor journey to come.

Had I known what was in store for my future, I would have made time for more photo shoots and more moments of folly.

I’m reminded that right where I am, there is an opportunity ripe with potential for creativity, dance, and carefree laughter. Someday, I’m sure I’ll look back with gratitude.

My Christmas Cookie Recipe

It’s that season again where I nudge you to bake these guilty pleasures.

They are called Luke’s Christmas Love Cookies because our firstborn, Luke, loves them the most and has been making them with me for more than a quarter of a century. They are special, rich, and not heart-healthy in the cardiovascular sense.

But they are from my heart, and I’m so happy to share them with you.

hello-lovely-studio-christmas-cookie-recipe-swedish-buttercream
Swedish Christmas Cookies (aka Luke’s Christmas Love Cookies)

Prep: 50 minutes – Chill: 2 hours – Bake: 7 minutes/batch –  Preheat oven: 375°

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 7-oz. jar marshmallow cream

3/4 cup butter, cut up and softened

3/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Colored sprinkles

1. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beat 1 cup butter for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide in half. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2. On a lightly floured surface roll half of dough at a time until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough using a 2 1/2-inch star-shape cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake in 375° oven 7 to 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

4. In large mixing bowl beat marshmallow cream, gradually adding 3/4 cup softened butter. Beat in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Spread or pipe atop cookies. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Makes 6 1/2 dozen cookies.

TO STORE : Store in a single layer in refrigerator until frosting sets, about 1 hour. Store in a single layer in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze uniced cookies.

Per cookie: 73 cal., 4 g fat (3 g sat. fat), 14 mg chol., 49 mg sodium, 8 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein.

This Video

My mom’s favorite song is “The Prayer” performed by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion, and I never tire of this duet!

Another version of this beautiful song is here:

“The Prayer”

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way

Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

La luce che tu hai
(I pray we’ll find your light)
Nel cuore resterà
(And hold it in our hearts)
A ricordarci che
(When stars go out each night)
Eterna stella sei
(Whoa)
Nella mia preghiera
(Let this be our prayer)
Quanta fede c’è
(When shadows fill our day)

Lead us to a place
(Guide us with your grace)
[Both:] Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Sogniamo un mondo senza più violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternità

La forza che ci dà
(We ask that life be kind)
È il desiderio che
(And watch us from above)
Ognuno trovi amor
(We hope each soul will find)
Intorno e dentro sé
(Another soul to love)

[Both:] Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer

Just like every child
Just like every child

[Both:] Need to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

È la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salvera

Farmhouse Christmas decor ideas and inspiration from Urban Farmgirl on Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #farmhousechristmas #christmasdecor #simplechristmas #countrychristmas

Hello Lovely Studio. See this story inspired by my visit to Urban Farmgirl HERE.

Wishing you Christmas joy,

eyes to be wise,

trust in what we cannot see,

and

Peace to you right where you are.

~michele

p.s.

If you have a moment, I’d love for you to check out my PINTEREST BOARDS and PIN pretty things you like – I am saving Christmas decorating ideas at the moment!

Rustic French Country Cabinet
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Rustic French Farmhouse Table
French Country Sideboard
French Country Headboard
French Country Stencil With Bee
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Linen & Oak Settee
Linen & Burlap Tufted Ottoman
French Grey Side Table
French Blue Antiqued 4-Drawer Cabinet
Weathered 4-Door French Cabinet – 71″
French Linen Accent Chair
French Country Wing Chair
French Louis Style Arm Chair
Teak 3 Leg Stool
French Linen Upholstered Dining Chair
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Linen Slipcovered Dining Chair, Set of 2
Louis Upholstered Bench
French Country Sofa
Pamela Arm Chair
Weathered Arm Chair
Rustic Wood Candleholders
Aged Terracotta Pots
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair Set of 2
Galvanized Console Table
French Farmhouse Dining Table
30″ Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Antiqued French Lamp
Light Grey Rattan Chair
French Country Altar Candlestick
French Industrial Metal Cafe Chair (Set of 2)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Linen Curved Loveseat
White Farmhouse Lantern Pendant Light
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
French Country Loveseat
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Oak Accent Stool
Rustic Ring 12-Light Chandelier
French Upholstered Gray Bench
Jute ARea Rug
French Candle Style Chandelier
Swedish Writing Desk
French Linen Sofa
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Parisian Glass Bottle Vase
Magnus Table Lamp
Spindle Leg Upholstered Bench
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Tufted Headboard
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Aged White Writing Desk
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Grainsack Stripe Armchair
Fireclay Farm Sink
Striped Dress Form
Elm rustic stool
Matelasse Coverlet
Quilted Coverlet
Grey Bistro Set
60″ Round Pedestal Dining Table
Scrubbed Look Wood Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
French Country Chandelier
Rustic Rectangle Farm Table
Teak Farmhouse Stool

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6 Comments

  1. Joanna
    November 25, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Oh my! Tears are running down my cheeks. So, so beautiful!
    Blessings, ~Joanna

    • michele
      Author
      November 25, 2018 / 4:31 pm

      Thanks for your kind, tender heart. xox

  2. Donna
    November 26, 2018 / 7:14 pm

    Followed you again this evening Michelle. From Holland Michigan. Will purposefully write out your Luke’s Christmas Cookie recipe—- just because it’s yours!
    Shopping on line would be new for me—- I just might find a moment to return to Hello Lovely and click!
    Blessings,
    Donna

    • michele
      Author
      November 26, 2018 / 9:52 pm

      Hi Donna! Great to hear from you. I hope you like the cookies in spite of the amount of work…that’s why we typically make them only at Christmas. xox

    • michele
      Author
      December 7, 2018 / 9:58 am

      Thanks so much – they are delicious! Peace to you.

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