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Colleen Rooney shares a recipe from her book, Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children.

Imagine making cookies all Advent long that teach our children about the symbols associated with Advent and Christmas while having fun mixing, rolling, cutting out, baking, and decorating, not to mention eating! The sugar cookie recipe found on page 39 in Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is the perfect recipe for Advent and Christmas baking. 

On my blog, Foods and Festivities of the Christian Year, you will find every recipe in the book photographed. 

Many symbols of Advent and Christmas are pictured. There is a bishop’s crozier, a holly leaf, a lit candle, a candy cane, Christmas trees, angels, and star cookies. You can bake your way through Advent introducing your children to a couple of symbols every week as you unfold the meaning of the symbol as it relates to the Christmas story.

2020 11 GUEST CRooney sugar cookies 1

A few days before Christmas you could pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating the cookies. Use your favorite Christmas cookie cutters, i.e., angels and stars. Let your imagination go wild as you frost and decorate with cut-up cherries, nuts, chocolate bits, sprinkles, white chocolate, and more. Dip paper-thin cookies in melted chocolate, or ice thickly rolled favorites with a scrumptious frosting recipe. Don’t forget to add coconut, toasted or plain, to some of the cookies. Christmas is the time to celebrate with all the abundance nature gives us!

Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children

Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children CONTENTS’ pages are a great guide to what the book offers. It is more than a recipe book. It is a resource which instructs while having fun baking. The book includes WORDS TO KNOW, simple definitions of words associated with celebrating the liturgical year. An explanation of THE CHRISTIAN CALENDAR follows. St. Pope Paul VI, in Mysterii Paschalis, emphasizes a powerful way to bring “sacramental grace” into our homes by living out the liturgical year. SUGGESTIONS FOR PLANNING, and an ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS PLANNING CALENDAR are included. A LETTER TO PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND CATECHISTS along with COOKING RULES AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS WITH CHILDREN precede the explanation of the ADVENT SEASON. Short poems are interspersed throughout the book with the recipes which honor the seasons and saints from many different countries, while including level of skill, prep, and baking time, with the ingredients and equipment needed.

The CHRISTMAS SEASON illustration by Kathleen Woodburn transitions our bakers from Advent to Christmas recipes and poems. Kathleen’s lovely and gentle artwork illustrates many of the seasons and saints of Advent and Christmas. An extensive RESOURCES section follows the Christmas recipes. The Resources section is meant to complement the seasons and saint recipes and provide background information: COLORS OF THE LITURGICAL SEASONS, LITURGICAL SYMBOLS FOR ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS, BOOKS AND DVDS FOR CHILDREN, BLOGS AND WEBSITES, BAKING RESOURCES, LITURGICAL RESOURCES, and a BIBLIOGRAPHY. Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children: Food Celebrations for the Home and School is a book that is meant to be with you and your family for many years as you grow ever deeper in your knowledge, understanding, and celebrating of the mystery of the Incarnation.

Bake your way through Advent introducing your children to a few symbols every week, unfolding the meaning of the symbol as it relates to the Christmas story. #catholicmom

Christmas Sugar Cookies

(reprinted with permission from Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children)

PREP: 20 minutes                   
CHILL: 1 hour or more
BAKE: 10 to 12 minutes


4 sticks of real, unsalted butter
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons of milk
Frosting or icing

Decorations: colored sprinkles, colored sugars, candies, candy flowers, chocolate bits, etc.

*May use ready-made dough instead.


1 large mixing bowl
Measuring spoons
Measuring cups
1 small bowl
Rolling pin
Variety of cookie cutters
Clean rolling surface
Wire racks

YIELD: 5 to 6 dozen cookies


  1. Soften butter to room temperature. (Microwave for 5 seconds. Check to see if butter is softened. Repeat until just)
  2. Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 3 tablespoons milk.
  3. Mix butter, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, dissolved soda, and milk in a large bowl with clean hands until the dough is smooth. The dough does not seem to be adversely affected by handling. Form dough into a ball, dust with flour and chill thoroughly before using.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Break chilled dough into conveniently sized pieces. Take only the amount you want to bake for today. Add a bit more flour for ease in rolling out.
  6. Dust the surface with flour. Place dough the size of an adult fist on surface. Roll out as thin as possible. Cut out with cookie cutters.
  7. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet until light brown about 12 minutes.
  8. Cool on a rack.
  9. Decorate simply for Advent cookies but pull out all the stops when decorating Christmas cookies.

2020 11 GUEST CRooney sugar cookies 2

Copyright 2020 Colleen Rooney
Images: cookie photos copyright Colleen Rooney, all rights reserved. Author photo copyright Lisa Julia Photography, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

2020 11 GUEST CRooney copyright Lisa Julia

About the author: Colleen Rooney is a wife, mother of four, and grandmother of eleven. She has a Master of Arts degree in Catholic Doctrine from John’s University, New York. She worked for Fr. John Hardon, S.J., on the Modern Catholic Dictionary and Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., on the Homiletic & Pastoral Review before marrying. She taught high school in NYC and Woodbridge, VA, and worked for the Diocese of Arlington, VA, in religious education. She served on the Arlington Diocesan Council of Catholic Women as Family Life Chair for many years. More recently she mentored 4- 6th grade girls in a classical curriculum program and writes for PWC Catholic Magazine. She has enjoyed baking since she was a girl in her grandmother’s home and tried out many recipes on and with her family over the years. Her grandchildren are now the recipients of her enthusiasm for baking and are pictured on her blog trying their hands at various recipes as they observe the seasons and celebrate the saints.