Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Consider making a Christmas recipe notebook (Part 1)

Really -- it will be so helpful to you each year when the Christmas season comes around!  It may seem like a lot of work, but it really is worth it.  I actually refer to mine year round.  And the most convenient time to work on such a project is right after Christmas, when all of your holiday recipes are at hand since you have just been using them.

When I was growing up, my mother always had a Christmas notebook.  It was in a really distinctive pink and white textured binder.  Below you see the notebook in all of its shabby glory, coffee spills and all.  (My mother always had a cup of coffee at hand.  Not a mug; a coffee cup.) 

When I saw that notebook make an appearance around the house, I knew Christmas planning was beginning.  Mom kept lists of gifts she had ordered in this notebook, sometimes in shorthand so snoopers wouldn't know what they were getting.   You can see some of the shorthand entries below.
But she also kept all of her traditional Christmas recipes in this binder.



I had adapted this idea by keeping all of my Christmas recipes on special Christmas recipe cards.  They were pretty and fun, but really, a notebook, especially a loose-leaf one, is a better idea. 

My sister had an entire recipe box with only Christmas recipes, and that is also a good idea, but the notebook, again, is more practical.

Still, I didn't have one until I had the inspiration to create a Christmas memory book for my adult kids and their families, writing down all the Christmas memories I could think of.  You can read here about how I did that project: How to Make a Christmas Memory Book.

In doing that, I naturally added in all of our favorite Christmas recipes.  I included recipes from my own childhood, recipes from my kids' growing-up years, and recipes from much more recent times.

 Below you see a favorite recipe for Fruity Pastel Spritz.  This is a newer recipe I've discovered.  It uses fruit flavored gelatin powder for color and flavor.  We especially like this for Christmas tree spritz cookies.

I find myself turning often to my Christmas recipe notebook, even at other times of year. We might use a recipe for a Christmas breakfast bake, for instance, at any special brunch or breakfast.  Or some of the salads, side dishes, or desserts for Christmas dinner are ones we might use at Thanksgiving or any other special family dinner.

It really does help to have all of the Christmas recipes in one place; it helps especially when planning a holiday grocery shopping trip or list.

So now would be a great time to make a Christmas recipe book of your own.  You can use my directions for assembling a Christmas memory book to see the binder, page protectors and other materials you might use.  Or, stay tuned for Part 2, which will share some different ideas for making a recipe book.


  1. Excellent idea if one has the will and organizational skills. I could not find all the recipes I was looking for this Christmas...have decided that I will instead add them to my recipe file on the blog. That will make it much easier for me.
    I really like the idea of Christmas memories, too.

  2. Good idea. When there's so much to do, notes can make the season really bright

  3. I love your idea and already do something similar, but it isn't just for Christmas. I don't think I do as much Christmas baking as you do...but I keep a looseleaf notebook with recipes in plastic sleeve protectors for all of my favorite recipes, especially those that came from family members. I type the recipes in the computer, and add notes about who the recipe is from and what the history is about it that makes it extra special. I love the plastic protectors because if you have the notebook open and you spill a bit of egg or vanilla or anything while measuring, it will wipe right off. I love your mother's notebook and her shorthand lists...my mother also used shorthand a lot. At one time I could decipher it, but no longer. I haven't used it in so long. Oh, also, if I have the original recipe written by my mother or my grandmother, I make a color copy of the original and put it in the page protector also, as well as the actual original so it is protected. But if it should get torn or too old to read, I still have the copy of the original. I love the picture of your mother's kitchen. Such a wonderful typical New Englander kitchen! Reminds me of the one we had in Fryeburg, Maine, in the big old house we rented one year from the Eastman family. I loved that kitchen with it's white metal cabinets and vintage stove and farmhouse sink. Those were the days! Thank you for these wonderful ideas and memory stirrers. Happy New Year!


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