Break Christmas Tradition??

Updated on October 08, 2009
M.C. asks from Wailuku, HI
12 answers

Hi Moms
Every year since I can remember, I bake Christmas cookies. (lots and lots of them, all different kinds!) I have had fun with my kids keeping this tradition, preparing plates for friends and neighbors and delivering them with santa hats on singing Christmas Carols. Here's the problem: Slowly over the last few years, I have been on a health kick. I am now at the point where I feel like I am contributing to the demise of others if I continue this tradition! It sickens me to stock up on the amount of refined flour and sugar that this enterprise requires!

I have thought of trying to make some "healthy cookies" but nobody is gonna eat them, because the "real stuff" is ubiquitous and next to refined sugar treats, anything made with sprouted flax will be thrown away!

I am so sad about this, that I am actually thinking about it in August. Does anyone have any suggestions of how I can continue the joy spreading (both from a preparation standpoint by me & kids AND a receiving standpoint by friends and neighbors) without contributing to the epidemic of obesity?

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answers from Los Angeles on

How about making root vegetable chips instead? I slice carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, etc. really thin, toss them in olive oil and salt, and then bake them until they're crisp. (You can deep-fry if you prefer; I just hate frying.) Mix them together and you've got a very pretty food gift.

Other alternatives:

- Fruit chutney (keeps a long time in the fridge if you don't feel like heat-processing)

- Pesto (if no fresh basil at that time of year, do a sun-dried tomato pesto)

- Dip whole-wheat pretzel rods in dark chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts

- Dip dried apricots in dark chocolate and sprinkle with chopped salted almonds

Hope this helps!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Mary Beth,

It is sweet of you to bake for so many people and I am sure it is one of the highlights of their holidays. I would hate for you to change it because some people cannot make good choices.

Pesonal responsibility is just that. People need to be responsible for themselves. Their choices are there own and so our their consequences. I think that too many people have the philosophy that someone else must be blamed for all of their problems. I feel this is part of the reason our country is so messed up right now.

Bake your cookies, pass them out with your usual joy and enjoy your holiday.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

maybe you could try bread. not very many people give out homemade bread and what a treat!!! I don't know anyone who would not eat fresh whole wheat bread. Lots of places sell little bread pans. you could even just buy a mix from a store like Henrys or sprouts and freezer jam is a very easy thing to make to go along with it. you can use sugar substitutes in jam as well.
If you love cookies like i do just play with the ingredients a little. I like the evaporated cane juice crystals it is actually tastier than refined sugar. you can also find white whole wheat flour and that works well for cookies. My family is not eating any wheat right now and we love peanut butter cookies- so easy
2c peanut butter
2 eggs
2c sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1tsp vanilla
350 degrees for 12 min
super easy and not much in them just make sure your eggs are room temp when working without wheat. when your eggs are room temp your recipe will be lighter and fluffier usually this doesn't matter that much but when you aren't working with wheat you need all the help you can get.
good luck let us know what end up doing.
wow Christmas already you are on it girl!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Its only 1 time a year... if you can stand it, just enjoy it as you usually do... traditionally.
You said your healthy kick was adopted s-l-o-w-l-y... so don't expect others to embrace it right away either. Its an "acquired" taste for many, even those with health problems. Its a whole "cultural" and taste adaption.
For example: I"m sure not everyone likes escargot? But, so would you make others eat it just because you do? Or just let them eat calamari instead? Not everyone even likes sushi.
So, per cookies: maybe make a batch of traditional cookies... and some "healthy" cookies... for those friends/family that will like it or not. That way you have BOTH kinds. And still enjoying the feelings & fun of it.... which you enjoy.

If not, try sugar substitutes instead of refined sugar... try going to Whole Foods and see what they have. Or try Splenda or Stevia for example, instead of processed sugars.

Or, try getting that Jerry Seinfeld Wife's book... she has great recipes using pureed vegetables, and its real good. My friend bakes everything using that cookbook and it tastes REAL GOOD! And its healthy! The cupcakes are to die for! Real yummy!
That is my vote.

Good luck,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Since you have so much time till then why not try some different recipes for healthy cookies. As long as they taste yummy people don't have to necessarily know all the ingredients. I would love to receive healthy but yummy cookies during the holidays. I think if they taste good you'll be shocked to see that people will receive and eat them gladly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Although I understand where you are coming from, being a semi-health nut myself, I don't think that you should worry so much about the calorie/fat content of your Christmas cookies. Indulgence is OK once in awhile, especially for Christmas!! Yes, there is the obesity epidemic, but you are not forcing your neighbor to sit down and eat the whole plate in one sitting or bringing them treats every day, and it is their personal decision to eat one, or eat 10. If you are that torn up about it, then put one of each kind of cookie on the plate and fill the rest with something healthier or non food. Honestly, we are a whole-wheat only, non-refined sugar, no hfcs, non-hydrogenated oil family and I look forward to my neighbor's Christmas treat plates all year!! You can't carry the weight of the world on your shoulders with this one... your one plate of a few cookies is NOT going to make or break someone. And judging by the way you are already thinking about this, your girls are already learning that these things are occasional treats, not something you eat every day, which is awesome!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Hi Mary Beth, In don't think you need to break your Christmas Tradition, I am sure your thoughtfulness, is very much appreciated every year, and think how you make people feel, the joy, of giving. I do the same thing, on a smaller scale than what it sounds like you do. Modify it don't break it, for example if you take a plate of goodies to a family of 5 put 15 cookies or goodies on the plate, 3 a piece. Get created, you can add a little fruit, or homemade ornaments, popcorn, you can get colored popcorn, there's so many things you can do. August is the best time to start thinking about Christmas, I ordered my Christmas cards yesterday, I've already started my Holiday planning
too. I would love to swap ideas with you. J. L,



answers from Los Angeles on

umm... well I say just do it. of course it is great that your plan for the family is great, but can't you have a little bit of sweetness in a wonderful tradition? How about cookies like "oatmeal raisin"? Can't be that bad. I just think there should be a little room for some treats in everyones life. And this one gives you family memories to treasure.



answers from Los Angeles on

I too like to bake for the holiday's. Last year my kids and I made homemade ornaments the kind you bake then paint. We gave them to everyone it was a lot of fun and people loved them. We also got some pre-made ornamans from JoAnne's and the kids painted those too. Something I did for my 4 close friends was find small cute like treasure boxes and I filled them with my favorite bible verses so they could pull out a different verse either every day or every week it is very time consuming but if you start now you could do it I typed up all the verses and made copies and then cut them up and put in boxes they are a gift that keeps giving. Lot's of luck to you on your decision.



answers from San Diego on

Mary Beth,

I agree with most of the other posts - make your cookies, enjoy the time with your family and friends, it's once a year!

However, if you REALLY feel guity about it (which I don't think you should)... perhaps you should do small art projects or crafts for your friends, family, and neighbors. The same good feelings can be had there.

Just a suggestion.



answers from Los Angeles on

How about baking for our soldiers? Baking GALS is a group of women who bake goodies and send them to sponsored soldiers. Check out for more info.



answers from San Diego on

There are some great cookie recipes in Cooking Light that I love! They use very little sugar and replace it with bananas and they cut the flour by using rolled oats. I also replace bananas with pure pumpkin for the fall. I would check it out. I have made them for several friends and everyone loves them and can't even tell they are healthy.

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