We are pleased to announce the winners of the Wilton Holiday Cookie Contest. We had over 1,000 wonderful entries that captured the spirit of the holiday. It was extremely difficult to select only 20 winners.
Thank you to all the contestants for sharing your holiday memories and traditions. We hope you enjoy the approaching holiday season making new memories with your family and friends. That’s what the holidays are all about!
Andrea, Newark Valley, New York
It began as a way for a poor college student to make Christmas gifts, but Cookie Weekend has turned into my favorite tradition. Back then, I would make a few simple holiday cookies and package them in decorated paper bags for my friends and family when I came home for break – and my three younger sisters were always there to help out. We’ve continued doing cookie weekend each year and we always have such a wonderful time baking, decorating and laughing! Each year we get a bit more elaborate with the cookies we try hand iced sugar cookies with royal icing, brandy snaps, mint brownies, French lace What-nots and we send them out to our friends and loved ones in gable-top take out boxes that we decorate. Cookie weekend is about taking the time to connect with my sisters. The cookie boxes are great, but the memories and time with my sisters is priceless!
Jody, St. James, Minnesota
My mom sister and I would make a different kind of cookie each day during the weekends of November and December. When the baking was done we split all the cookies in to three different piles. The first pile were placed into beautifully hand decorated containers and placed under the Christmas tree to be given away as gifts. The second pile was also placed into beautifully hand decorated containers and were given to my sister and I to hand out around town to those in the neighborhood who could no longer bake. The third pile was saved to be enjoyed by us, while sharing about our day and during family time. Now that I am the mom things have not changed, we still follow the traditions that my mom had set up with my sister and I. The most important part of following the traditions that my mom set for me as a kid means that I can spend more time with my kids well we bake and decorate together and it also teaches my kids the importance of sharing with and caring about the people around them.
Deni, Howard, Ohio
One of the most special Christmas memories for me was when I gathered different cookie recipes, copied them on an index card, and put them in a decorative bowl folded so they could not be seen. I made sure I had the ingredients for all the recipes, and got my kids together with their spouses. Their Great Grandma and Great Grandpa were also present to watch, as each drew a recipe and went about mixing their concoction. We laughed till we cried, got to know each other even better, and got the MEN in the kitchen with us for the fun! We had a taste test at the end of the evening with hot chocolate and coffee and alot of kidding and praising.
Dawn, Provo, Utah
I found them! I found them!
Growing up, my Mom and I made Christmas Sugar Cookies with our old-fashioned silver metal cookie cutter shapes: the Camel, Santa Claus, Star, Tree, Angel and Gingerbread Man.
One year, Mom also prepared a “salt-dough” recipe, and those same wonderful cookie cutters created lasting memories for me to this day 30 years later: that of simple Ornaments, poked with a pencil before cooking, and later strung with a red ribbon.
Time passed. Mom passed. And the cookie cutters are gone.
Until 2 months ago, when I found them at a thrift store.
I know they weren’t Mom’s, but they were the SAME. I felt like I was seeing dear old silver friends! I purchased them, and now look forward to making our own Christmas Sugar Cookies this Christmas—complete with the extra salt-dough Ornaments! AND they get a special place of honor: for the cookie cutters themselves will hang with their own red ribbons on our Christmas tree, ready to bake memories for years to come.
Edna, San Antonio, Texas
As a Navy brat, I have sent treats to the troops. Cookies are great Christmas gifts to thank those who serve in the military, especially when they are far away from home during the holidays. When packaging the cookies for overseas, I lay them flat in clear treat bags or carefully wrap them in tissue paper in treat boxes and tie with a yellow ribbon! Then I place them in a package filled with air cushions, mark the outside with an arrow facing this side up, fill out any customs forms and send by priority mail. Plan to mail the package right after Thanksgiving to avoid delays during the holiday rush. One year, after her tour of duty in Kuwait, a naval reservist sent me a U.S. flag raised over the fleet hospital in my honor along with a note from her unit in appreciation for sending the treats for the troops. Well, the investment in taking Wilton classes has been a rewarding one for me as I get to share my baking and decorating skills with others.
Meredith, Los Angeles, California
For the last couple of years I’ve been giving cookies for holiday gifts. Instead of novelty gifts that I can afford or going into debt for expensive gifts, I make dozens of cookies for everyone. It has become an expected tradition for a growing list of friends and family, and something that I truly enjoy doing during the holiday season. One of the favorite cookie selections is the gingerbread cookie. I make gingerbread men and women, and with royal icing I write a name on each decorated cookie, place it in a cello bag, tie it with a ribbon and use it as a gift tag. For those that have kids, I put the family of named-gingerbread men, women, girls and boys in one large cello bag and tie it closed with a ribbon. I’ll go to my friend’s houses in the spring and, sometimes, I see their cello bags untouched and on their countertops or refrigerator doors out on display. It always makes me happy to know that a little bit of my holiday cheer warms my loved ones’ homes all year round.
Drue, Gainesville, Florida
One of my favorite Holiday memories was the time we made hand and foot cookies ( now there are cutters available) with the willing hands and feet of the children. Because we have an international blend of many adopted children–there are many skin shades among them. Using vanilla–coffee and chocolate dough we mixed and matched against their skins for VERY personal cookies. I drew the line when the boys wanted to actually put their foot on the dough to make the design!! We made cardboad cut-outs with everyones name written on them .! They searched for their initial as they came out of the oven. The girls decorated the nails and added frosting bracelets etc.. The boys ate theirs as soon as they were cooled!!
Simone, Cross Plains, Wisconsin
When I was in grade school, my brother was in Viet Nam. Once a month we would make cookies and send them over there for not only my brother but his buddies as well. Christmas time was especially special for them because getting a package from home meant so much. We’d spend days baking and decorating. each cookie was wrapped in tin foil and then placed in between layers of popcorn in order to keep them from braking. When the package would arrive in Viet Nam, my brother and his buddies would look at ever sing cookie individually before eating any of them. My brother would pass out a cookie to everyone till they were all gone. The next letter we would recieve from him would include line after line of thank yous from the soldiers. Some never receiving anything from home themselves, they were very greatful for the care and love that went into these special gift boxes of cookies from home.
Suzanne, Remington, Virginia
One of the most fun ways I used to give cookies at Christmas was to buy pretty glassware sets and fill each glass in the set with cookies…(I wrapped each with plastic wrap to keep cookies fresh). I returned the filled, wrapped glasses to their original packaging and gift-wrapped the boxed set. Of course the fun part was watching the reaction change when it was discovered that the box held more than just glasses! My dad and brothers LOVED their gift that year and were pretty sure they would ‘need more glasses’ the next year! What fun!
Laura, Kansas City, Missouri
I once belonged to a cake decor club which had some spectactular decorators. I was invited to a cookie exchange. I’d never heard or been to one. Telling me of the basics: Bake 13 doz cookies; one dozen to share with the other 12 and one to donate to a charity. I was greeted after a long drive with the most delicious aroma. Cinnamon cookie garland gracefully hung in the kitchen.Toured all of her 13 decked-out trees. We ate pot luck. We divided our cookies. Carolyn beautifully adorned hers, all Santas, with buttercream. Mine, ordinary. They will be appreciated-she kept assuring me. I will never forget this life-altering event. I started baking for neighbors, family work partys. Everytime I make a cookie, no matter how ordinary or eleborate.I remember how an invite to a cookie exchange made me feel worthwhile. I could embrace myself as someone who matters-all because of the sweet wonderful, sometimes ordinary,little cake-We call a Cookie!
Lisa, Owens Cross Roads, Alabama
My love for cookies began while spending summers with my grandmother as a child. She didn’t have a lot of money but still found a way to share her love of baking. I remember my favorite cookie was her chocolate oatmeal cookies. During my stays with her, she would let me help with cooking. At a very young age, she encouraged me to collect recipes, family recipes she handed down and others that I would clip from newspapers and magazines. My grandmother gave me a fabric covered notebook, notebook paper, and scotch tape to start putting together a book from my collection. I worked for days organizing and taping my collection into the pages of my homemade cookbook. I am now 43 years old and still look to that cookbook for those cherished family recipes and think of my grandmother and those precious memories. My favorite chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe is still there in my 8 year old hand writing, quite wrinkled, splattered, and faded; but it’s still my most cherished cookie recipe.
Jordan, Williamsburg, Virginia
Christmas for me has always meant love and cookies. When I was younger, my mom, my brother, and I would get together with her best friend and her children in the afternoon of the last day of school before Christmas Break to make sugar cookies for Santa. We went through the traditional sugar cookie experience, getting to cut them out and frost them with various colors, but that is not what makes this memory special. What makes this special is the fact that we did not stick to the traditional Christmas fare of Santas and Christmas trees. We also made menorahs and dreidels for Hanukkah; because my mom’s best friend’s family was Jewish. Though we were of different faiths, my family never excluded them from our holiday festivities, and the sugar cookies lead to holiday traditions that crossed religious boundaries. Christmas Eve was a combination of a Christmas tree and a menorah, latkes and pot roast. Christmas sugar cookies lead to the true meaning of the season: loving your neighbor.
Heather, Knoxville, Tennessee
I remember baking cookies as a child for Santa’s big arrival on Christmas Eve. We always made sugar cookies and we always used our Wilton Christmas cookie cutters. One year after waking to find that Santa had eaten my cookies I also found “snow” tracks in the shape of a boot on the hardwood floor. My mother had taken baby powder and made special “non-melting snow” tracks. I will always remember the magic of that morning. I also received a thank-you note from Santa for the cookies. Definitely my best Christmas memory ever!
Cathy, Fayetteville, Arkansas
When I married and had children, it was always an event to get out the cookie cutters and bake holiday cookies. One year I was not able to participate so my husband baked cookies with our then seven year old and one year old. I have great pictures in my mind of the kitchen covered with flour and the one year old sitting in the middle of the cabinet licking a spoon. My son carries on the tradition with his children and they have some fun times. However, the cookie baking tradition became the “decorated ginger bread house” tradition with my daughter. Each year my husband and daughter compete and I judge. Of course, it is always a tie and the grandchildren eat the houses. When my daughter moved out of town last year, I figured it was the end of our tradition. Imagine my surprise when I awoke Christmas morning to find two Wilton gingerbread houses completely decorated by my husband and daughter sitting under the Christmas tree. I can hardly wait for this Christmas to come.
Cynthia, McDonough, Georgia
About 5 years ago I decided a good way to get my friends and neighbors together would be to have a cookie exchange. Everyone is so busy around the holidays we for get to do things for ourselves. This helped us out two ways-first we ended up with beautiful cookie trays to use as gifts or to set out for unexpected guests. Second we took time to talk and laugh with each other which helps with the stress of the holidays! We always do it on a friday night to leave the weekends free. We started with just 5 ladies showing up-now we are up to 15 or more. We even give prizes and crowns to the best tasting cookie and the best displayed cookie! Some start trying out recipes in the summer and we always set the date for next years exchange at the exchange so we can all put it on our calendar! Even the husbans and children get excited. Its now a tradition we all love!
Valerie, Thornton, Colorado
My Parents believed that children should be seen and not heard. When I had children of my own I decided to change all that and start some traditions. Each holiday we turned on the kids favorite music and we each had a job and they took turns adding the ingrediants of their choice. Each of my children would make and decorate a special cookies for themself, for me and for Santa. They were allowed to make anything they wanted, use any coloring they wanted etc. They would spend hours on their cookies. Then on each christmas eve each child would leave that special cookie for Santa and go to bed. Each year Santa would show up and eat those cookies making sure to leave just a small piece of each on the plate. The kids would save thoses pieces for months. Recently my children informed me that this was the best part of each holiday and meant more to them then any gift. In fact they could not remember many of the gifts they received, however they can remember every cookie.
Cindy, Lemoore, California
My Wilton Holiday Cookie Entry: I always baked Christmas cookies with my daughters when they were small. It was such a memorable time that when I became a kindergarten teacher, I wanted to share that experience with my little ones. For the past 15 years in my classroom , I have put on what I call a, “Mrs. Santa’s Cookie Workshop.” I invite parents in to help my kindergarteners prepare the recipes. Many of my students, as well as parents have never made cookies from scratch. I purchase the ingredients, supply the equipment, and recipes. I divide the class evenly among my parents and we get busy. The kids are excited. There’s a lot of tasting, mixing, and messes. It’s quite humerous to see 5 year olds crack eggs and taste baking soda. I send the cookies to the cafeteria to be baked. Twelve to twenty dozen cookies are too many for a toaster oven. I divide the cookies up, tie a big red ribbon around them, and send them home for them to share their holiday baking with families.
Mary Jane, New York, New York
When packaging and giving cookies as gifts, I’ve found that people love to receive the recipe as well. I’ll often bake a batch of cookies, handwrite the recipe on a cute recipe card and somtimes include the dry ingredients for actually making the cookies. Wrapped in cellophane with a pretty bow or in a seasonal basket, it looks beautiful, is reasonably inexpensive and is helping someone else to create their own cookie-baking traditions.
Jean, Akron, Ohio
My friends and I have a yearly tradition of a Christmas Cookie Exchange. We laugh, eat, exchange recipes and cookies, and watch our children play together. It is magical. A few winters ago, my husband contracted a virus which severely damaged his heart, necessitating a heart transplant. Needless to say, our Cookie Exchange took a backseat to my husband”s health. One cold, snowy night in December, there was a knock at our door, and my friends poured into our house with dozens of beautiful cookies, a big thermos of hot chocolate and marshmallows, and wrapped gifts for the kids. The kids cheered and I cried, thankful for the best Christmas gift of all- good friends.
Sandy, San Angelo, Texas
For the last 25 years, I have hosted a Christmas Cookie Swap with a twist. Eleven of us make 12 dozen cookies to swap, but we also decorate over 150 beautiful Santa Cookies for Meals for the Elderly. Three of us make the Santas, and on the designated swap day, we gather around the board room table at my office to decorate the cookies assembly-line style. The extra dozen cookies from everyone go to the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen for their Children’s Christmas Party. With our busy lives, I feel sure the cookie swap might not have made it this long had it not been for the wonderful feeling we get from helping others and making sure they have a bit of Christmas cheer.
All contest winners have been notified by Wilton.