For the past 15 yrs, at least, my sister has had a cookie decorating night sometime in December. The cookie recipe is my Grandma Consalvo’s, my dad’s mom, for oatmeal cutouts. It is my absolute favorite of all the Christmas cookies our family bakes. We make a ton of different color frostings make a huge mess and have a great time trying to “out do” each other with our creativity. Here are just a few pictures I could find from recent years.
Grandma Consalvo’s Cut out Cookies
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
Chill 1 hour
Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out with cookie cutters
Bake at 400 for 5-7 minutes
(do not let brown too much)
After cooling decorate with frosting made with powdered sugar, a little milk, dash of vanilla and food coloring
After talking so much about family and holiday traditions and cooking with the Bolingbrook students at Booktalks in November 2017, I talked to my sister about bringing back a tradition of my Aunt Patsy to make homemade gnocchi, a pasta made with potato. This is from the Italian side of my family. We did not have my Aunts recipe (I doubt there ever was a recipe on paper) as she passed quite a few years ago. My sister and I both remember sitting around the table with all my cousins rolling the dough on the tines of a fork to make the lines that hold the spaghetti gravy. But we decided to go ahead and try and we successfully made a ton and ate them as part of our Christmas Eve dinner. Four generations of my family are in this picture making gnocchi. And the dogs helped too, by keeping the floor clean!
So thank you Bolingbrook students for inspiring me to bring back one of my families favorite food traditions.
Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, some friends of mine share their cultural stories from Czechoslovakia at the Museum of Science and Industry. The Moravian Czech society dances, places music and acts out old Christmas traditions. My daughter and I have gone every year since 2006. Although we culturally have nothing like this, we enjoy sharing with them their special times. Kathy Bennett (Children’s Services Specialists)
My grandmother sent my brother, my sister and me an Advent calendar every year. They usually came from Europe. The scene of Santa’s workshop, a snowy village, or the Christmas crèche often shimmered with glitter. Each day we searched for the door that matched the date. Behind each door was a picture of an object associated with the season – a pretzel, a candle, a rocking horse, a trumpet. St. Nicholas was usually behind the December 6 door, and the Holy Family was often revealed when we opened the door for December 24.
Miss Wendy with her family in 1968, with an Advent calendar on the mantelpiece
We treasure the old Advent calendars that we’ve kept through the years, and we’ve made new ones that continue the tradition. Last year my mom and I made two calendars, each a set of 25 drawers. We put a treasure in each drawer – seasonal candies, decorative stickers, colorful marbles, a wind-up toy, a silver bell and more. We included special items for St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, Winter Solstice and Christmas Eve. We sent them off to the youngest members of our family – my mother’s great granddaughter and her step-great great grandson. This year family members collected items to refill the drawers.
As my brother, sister and I got older and were away from home before Christmas, we missed preparing for the holidays as a family. To put a little merriment into the countdown to Christmas, we started sending one another little gifts for St. Nicholas Day, December 6. Often the gift would be an ornament or an edible treat.
One year when my husband and I were living out East my mother sent a small box of Frango mints. When we opened the box during the intermission of A Christmas Carol, the sharp minty aroma and taste swept us from Dickens’ London to Marshall Field’s Chicago.
(By Ms. Wendy)
Are you looking for books about the holiday Eid al Adha? We have nonfiction books for children as well as picture books. The newest story is a book in Arabic:
Man khaba kharūf al-ʻĪd by Taghrīd al-Najjār
Grandmother Fatoum tells her grandchildren how as a child she got attached to the Eid lamb. The story is retold in flashback and set in a Palestinian village.
The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin
Aneesa and her grandmother come up with a plan to help two girls who are refugees celebrate Eid in America.
We’re Off To Make ‘Umrah by Sana Munshey
A brother and sister join their parents on a trip to the city of Mecca to perform the sacred ritual of ‘Umrah.
The Most Pleasant Festival of Sacrifice: Little Batul’s Eid Celebration by
Little Batula’s parents were worried about their children learning their own values and having a good Eid celebration in the US. So, neighborhood mothers decided to get together to plan a nice Eid ul-Adha celebration for their children and local kids in need.
Going to Mecca by Na’ima B. Robert
A picture book shows a family’s pilgrimage to Mecca and what they do there.
If you’re looking for more books that feature Muslim children, try the new imprint Salaam Reads. They have picture books, chapter books and teen fiction and offer different kinds of stories including sports fiction and fantasy adventure.
Attention teachers and youth leaders, The Children’s Services Department of Foutaindale Library has an Ellison Die Cut machine available for public use. All you have to do is provide the paper and the manpower. We can show you how to use the machine if you are unsure or a first time user. For President’s Day we have heads of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and a small outline map of Illinois. For Valentine’s Day we have a large two piece heart plus a 4” heart die. There is also a die that has four tiny hearts. For a full list of what dies we have click here. If you would like to request to use the Ellison Die cut machine please email us at email@example.com. Please allow at least 36 hours notice.