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One of my favorite books is Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”.

Each year, on the nights that lead up to the holidays, one or two per week we make it a point to read parts of the book to the nieces, nephews and granddaughters so that they are familiar with A Christmas Carol and some few other of the classic books and authors that have created some wondrous tales of the holidays throughout history.

We try to make these evenings something special for the children and for ourselves by the inclusion of some special holiday treats as well as reading to them, and we’ve found an illustrated childrens version of A Christmas Carol, that is somewhat more exciting for the children.

We also, as the big day comes closer, show an animated movie, based on the Christmas Carol, (Disneys Mickey’s Christmas Carol) while we snack in the living room, a thing which we try not to encourage the rest of the year.

THe snacks, the adults cuddling and reading stories and the cartoon movies make the entire season a bit more special.

Here are two of my favorite “make it a special night” recipes, which I found years ago and have loved ever since.

White, Hot Chocolate

1 cup half and half

2 cups 2% milk

3/4 cups white baking pieces

3 inch long cinnamon stick

1/8 tsp of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla

Combine 1/4 cup half and half, white chocolate baking pieces and 1 stick cinnamon and nutmeg, cook

over medium heat, whisking it continuously until heated through and pieces are melted.

add remaining half and half and 2% milk, as well as vanilla and nutmeg.

Serve warm in cups and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES

2/3 c. butter
1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sifted flour

Cream together butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually add sifted flour, mixing well. Shape into 3/4″ balls. Dip in 2 slightly beaten egg whites. Roll in 3/4 cup of finely chopped walnuts. Place 1″ apart on greased cookie sheet. Press down center of each with thumb.

Bake 15 to 17 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove from pan and cool on rack. Fill centers with cherry or strawberry preserves. Makes 3 dozen.

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